New Writers Wanted!

Hey Howdy Hey!!! Have a passion for writing and looking for a blog to join? Mouze Kateerz is looking for new writers as we gear up withg new articles for the new year! Our writers have a love for Disney and traveling. Looking for energetic new writing with possible perks that are still in the works for those who write on a regular basis for Mouze… If you are interested please contact us at Dreammaker1974@gmail.com with your name and  a sampling of your writing on Disney, Universal or family vacationing and one of our Administrator’s will review it and be back in touch with you.

Happy writing!!

quill and ink

Cruising Disney Style

Photos from The Disney Fantasy

Photos by Amanda Casey

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Disney Fantasy is a masterpiece of design and engineering boasting Art Nouveau allure alongside modern technological advancements. Set sail for exotic destinations aboard this 130,000-ton marvel while enjoying Disney magic at sea.

Amanda@MagicalVacationsbyMe.Com

Disney Cruise Line Must Do: The Rain Forest Room

Hello, Lovelies!  I’m back with the promised report on my favorite activity aboard my recent Disney cruise: The Rain Forest Room!

For the uninitiated, let me lay the ground work for you.  Each of Disney’s 4 cruise ships has an amazing spa on board; the Wonder features the Vista Spa while the Magic, Dream, and Fantasy ships have the Senses Spa.  The Senses Spa on the Dream is located on Deck 11 forward, to the left when you get off of the elevators.  Tucked away in each of these areas is The Rain Forest Room (which I’ll shorten to “TRR” for simplicity).  What is so special about this room that I’m devoting an entire post you may ask?

Money talks, so let me start by saying that this is by far the most economical spa experience of your life.  Rain Forest RatesThe prices reflected are for a 3-day sailing and cover THE ENTIRE sailing.  That’s right, you’re not paying those fees for each entry into the room; that’s a one-time only fee for entry throughout your sailing.  If you want to spend all day in TRR, have at it-you won’t be charged again.  Now, the prices you see there don’t include the tax (and may vary or change without notice), but I paid roughly $20.13 per person per day for the Deluxe Couples Package.  $20, People!!!!!!!

The Deluxe Pass includes a 4 oz jar of their handmade, salt scrub per day.  You receive a little loofah pad with your jar so that you can scrub yourself up good and proper.  There were six to choose from with typical scents like Tahitian Vanilla, Tangerine, Peppermint, Lavender, etc.  We ended up only using part of a jar on the first day so I brought home two full jars as a souvenir.  After scrubbing and rinsing, our skin was soft, smooth, and the good kind of smelly.

The next feature I’d like to mention that makes this package so special is the exclusivity.  I’ve heard unconfirmed rumors that DCL only sells a limited number of these packages per sailing (as little as 20).  So, that means on a ship of 2700-4500 people, only a literal handful will be allowed into TRR.  Again, I have no idea if this is true but I can say that my husband and I were the only people in there whenever we visited.  We might have seen someone coming out or in as we were arriving or leaving but that was it.  We got to experience that all to ourselves for the majority of our time there.  If you’re a bit of an introvert like me, you’ll really appreciate a calm haven to descend upon occasionally without having to hide in your cabin.

Rain Forest and Water Fun Showers

Laconium Sauna on the left, two of the available showers on the right.

When you enter the spa, you will sign in at the front desk and receive your green wrist band (similar to the magic band) that will allow you entry into the room.  You will also receive your fluffy white robe (there are locker rooms available if you need to change into your swim suit and store your things).  When you enter the room, you’ll see the steam/sauna rooms and showers to the left and the water station and additional robes to your right.

Water Station

Water Station

First, spend some time in one of the sauna/steam rooms.  If I remember correctly, they recommended no more than 10-15 minutes in the rooms.  Laconium is your typical sauna (it has a large window with a nice view), Caldarium has heavy steam, and Hamam is a sauna room with sinks so that you can use your scrub.

Laconium SignCaladarium SignHamam Sign

Once you’ve gotten all steamed up, it’s time to head to the showers.  There are 4 distinct showers (Rain Forest, Water Fun, Cool Mist, and Tropical Thunder), each with 2-3 different streams to choose from.  All but one of the showers are cool (I’ll let you figure out which one has the warm water!) and my husband and I were a hoot going through each one.  Literally, they probably heard us squealing in the crew’s quarters.

Water Fun Shower

Water Fun Shower Buttons

Rain Forest Shower

Rain Forest Shower Buttons

Cool Mist Shower Buttons

Cool Mist Experience Shower Buttons

Tropical Thunder Shower Buttons

Tropical Thunder Shower Buttons

After your cold shower torture, you move into the next room that has rows of loungers.  These loungers are amazing as they have heated tiles from head to toe.  I could have easily napped there and actually returned to that area to relax more than once without visiting the sauna first.

Heated Tile Loungers-Amazing!

Heated Tile Loungers-Amazing!

Once you’re all warm and toasty, you can move to the final area that features two hot tubs.  The wrap around window in this area had one panel missing so that you can feel the breeze.  Again, we were typically the only people in the room for a long period of time.  Warm hot tub + cool breeze = one relaxed momma.

Hot Tubs

Hot Tub area

TRR was open from 12 p.m.-10 p.m. on the first day of sailing and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on the other days.  You may spend as much time in there as you like and come and go as often as you please during opening hours.

Some important info:  Rain Forest Passes are not available for booking pre-cruise.  As the availability is limited, we elected to board the ship at the earliest opportunity to ensure that we could purchase our passes.  Booking was simple; you give the attendants your name and room number and the charge is applied to your on board account.  If you prefer a more hands on spa experience, you can book additional services from the menu available.

If you have any questions about the Rain Forest Room or any of a Disney Cruise’s features, please comment below or you can find me on Facebook at Magical Vacations by Tracy or email at tracy@magicalvacationsbyme.com.  You can also follow me on Instagram HERE.  I’d love to talk to you about planning your own Disney Cruise!  See you soon!

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Tracy Hurdle is a work-at-home mother of one and a former social worker turned travel agent.  She’s always had a love of travel planning and couldn’t be happier at being given the opportunity to do so on a broader scale with families just like yours.

I Did The Unthinkable: I Went on a Disney Cruise WITHOUT My Kid!-Part Two

Welcome to Part Two of my short series on Disney Cruising without my kid!  If you missed Part 1, you can find it HERE. Picking up with where I left off at #6:

6.  Fireworks on a cruise ship is cool. No explanation needed (though it should be noted that they shoot the fireworks off of the Starboard side so if your room is on the right side of the ship, you can watch them from your room!).

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Serenity Bay at Castaway Cay

7.  Castaway Cay (Cay is pronounced “Key” by the way) was a neat little island and though some may argue that it is not an authentic island experience as it is owned by Disney, I’ll admit that it was nice to not be harassed by the occasional aggressive local that you may find on other islands. We spent the majority of our morning at Serenity Bay, the Adult’s Only Beach. This section is on the far side of the island so it’s a bit of a hike if you choose to walk.  We took our time getting down there; stopped for pictures with Mickey and Pluto, browsed the shops, etc. and still had plenty of time to grab some prime seating in the shade in a typical plastic beach chair.  There were a few hammocks available as well.  The bar staff was friendly and delivered drinks to you on the beach (I even saw one poor guy go into the water to serve a guest!).  Lunch was served buffet style and consisted of various grilled meats, fish, and vegetables with typical Caribbean island flavors.

8.  With Disney’s new policy regarding onboard booking (allowing you to make a return reservation without choosing a sailing), it’s silly NOT to make a booking if you think you might be even remotely interested in cruising with them again. With onboard booking, you will receive a slightly discounted sailing, a slightly discounted deposit, and up to a $200 onboard credit for your next sailing. There is a dedicated desk on each ship that is open at various times throughout the day.  Because I was not booking a specific sailing, the process only took a few minutes.  As you can book up to 2 staterooms with the onboard offer, I elected to do this so that my parents can travel with us next year.  It should be noted that when booking two staterooms, you and the other adult in your stateroom will be the lead guests on these rooms.  The logistics will be worked out later.  To book the onboard offer without choosing a particular sailing, you will need to place a deposit of $200 per stateroom.  You have 2 years from that date to sail again so once you’ve chosen your next sailing, you will contact your travel agent (ahem) or Disney to complete your booking and pay the additional balance for your deposit.

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You never know when you will run into a character or two. On Castaway Cay, Mickey and Pluto had no lines!

9.  Three nights was not enough time for a cruise only vacation, but the perfect amount of time for a land & sea vacation. If you don’t have a lot of time or cold, hard cash (OR if you’ve never cruised before and want a teaser before you commit to the real thing), then your average 3-day cruise is certainly a stellar option. I had actually cruised once before; it was a budget sailing on an older ship and I was not impressed and in fact swore I would not cruise again. Forgive me for the bad pun, but Disney Cruising is “A Whole New World.”  This is a luxury cruising experience in every sense of the word so after only 3 days, I was looking for a place to hide on board to avoid having to disembark.  Our plan for next year is to sail for 4-days but then combine that with a few days at Walt Disney World as well.

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My husband, Joe, posing by his sweet birthday ride.

10.  Hiring a limo to get us to and from the port was cheaper than Magical Express and WAY cooler.  Magical Express is the complimentary transportation to/from the Orlando Airport to a Walt Disney World resort. For a fee (currently $70 per person ages 3+, roundtrip), you can take the same bus to Port Canaveral.  However, if you have a larger party traveling, you may find that a private transport will actually be cheaper and it has the advantage of being, well…. Private!  As I mentioned in the previous post, we were celebrating my husband’s 40th birthday so I decided that a limo ride was just the ticket for a big time surprise for him.  My agency, Magical Vacations by Me, frequently contacts Charlie and his crew over at Park Avenue Limos (407-688-0850) for our clients so I knew we would receive outstanding service.  We couldn’t have been more pleased with their services.  The rates were fantastic, the limo well maintained, the driver was friendly but professional, and it was such an amazing surprise for my husband.  And let me tell you, after being herded off the ship and through customs, it was AMAZING to be immediately whisked away in my private limo back to the airport instead of cramming onto a large bus with 40 other sad travelers.

I hope this short series was informative, or at the very least, a little entertaining!  My next post will go into more detail about my experience in the Rainforest Room at the Senses Spa on the Disney Dream and why I believe it is a must do.  Until then, feel free to contact me at any time for more information or to assist you in booking your next vacation!  You can find me on Facebook at Magical Vacations by Tracy or email at tracy@magicalvacationsbyme.com.  You can also follow me on Instagram HERE.  See you soon!

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Tracy Hurdle is a work-at-home mother of one and a former social worker turned travel agent.  She’s always had a love of travel planning and couldn’t be happier at being given the opportunity to do so on a broader scale with families just like yours.

I Did The Unthinkable: I Went on a Disney Cruise WITHOUT My Kid!

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The Disney Dream at it’s home port in Port Canaveral, FL.

That’s right, folks.  The cruise line catering specifically to families.  The cruise line so dedicated to family travel they engineered the boats to be more family friendly (tubs in the bathrooms!)  Full disclosure: I absolutely intended to take my almost 4-year old son on this trip.  But as fate would have it, about 6 months prior to the cruise, we tried to spend one night with him in the same hotel room.  Whenever we’ve traveled with him previously, we always opted for a suite so that he could have his own sleeping space and we wouldn’t lose our minds.  But on this night, we opted to bunk together.  At 1:30 a.m. when our son was still bouncing off the walls, we very nearly got back out on the road after a long day of driving because we had no idea what else to do.  And right then and there, my son sealed his fate.

I booked this Disney cruise for two reasons: 1) I’d never been on one and I wanted to experience it for myself so that I could better inform my clients about Disney cruising.  2) My beloved hubby’s 40th birthday coincided brilliantly with a 3-night Bahamas cruise on the Dream and I thought that would be an ultra-nice way to celebrate.  So, my son stayed with his grandparents and Mama and Dada went cruising!

I posted this list on my Facebook travel page after we got back so I thought I would share that here and then elaborate on it a bit (the original list consisted of 10 bullet points that I have split into two blog posts).  These insights pertain to our time on the Disney Dream.  I am writing this with the assumption that you have at least a cursory knowledge of how Disney cruising works. I’m sorry that I can’t fully explain everything (you would be sending kids to college before I got done) but if you have specific questions about anything in this post, please feel free to comment below.

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Adults Only Pool Area

1.  Traveling without my child on a Disney Cruise was not weird at all. There were frequent exclamations of “Man, our kid would love this!” but otherwise we didn’t skip a beat. The Adults Only areas of the ship were quiet and relaxing.  On Deck 11 near the spa, there is a small area (seemed like maybe 1/3 of the entire deck area) that was separated from the main pools by a partition on both sides.  I was amazed at the lack of sound transfer as I don’t recall being disturbed by the main pool activities at all.  The loungers were comfortable, towels were plentiful, and bar staff were very accommodating.  There were families with children passing through the area so it wasn’t like it was a COMPLETELY kids free zone, but these families did not linger.

2.  The Adults Only dining at Palo was worth every penny of the extra $25 plus tip per person that we spent there. The food was amazing, the atmosphere was divine, and it was literally the best meal I’ve had in a long, long time.  Our server was friendly and attentive to our needs without hovering.  We received an appetizer plate, a soup or salad, an entree and a dessert.  I had a filet that you could cut with a fork.  There are plenty of reviews out there so I won’t go into specifics but I would highly recommend this experience, especially if you are celebrating something as we were. <It should be noted that both Palo and Remy recently instituted a price increase up to $30 and $85 per person>

3.  It is totally fine to skip a port if you’re not excited about it. I didn’t get off of the ship in Nassau and had a great time tooling around for the day. The shops are closed when the ship is in port though so don’t count on any shopping during that time.  I’ve been to Nassau before so I wasn’t compelled to visit and I really wanted to explore the ship. There are numerous activities available for all ages throughout the day. I participated in a Disney Trivia contest with a few other families (any guesses as to who won?), hung out in the spa, and just generally relaxed.

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Fruity Beverages are a must; there’s a different one featured each day!

4.  I enjoyed the early boarding time; we were able to secure our spa selections and change our dining rotation very early in the day.  We chose the earliest boarding time available-10:45 a.m.  I wanted to purchase Rainforest Passes in the Senses spa (you can only do so on board) and the early boarding time ensured that I got one as they only sell a small number of passes per sailing.  I also wanted to change our dining rotation as I noticed that we were assigned Animator’s Palette on the same night we had reservations at Palo.  Since I really wanted to experience Animator’s Palette, I went to the designated spot at the earliest available time to speak with one of the dining room managers about changing our rotation.  We were provided with a ticket with the new rotation printed on it and had to bring that with us at each dinner.  The only drawback to this process is that we did not have a designated table so we could not just walk in and sit down.  We had to wait each time for the manager to find us an open table. Not a deal breaker but it was mildly inconvenient.

5.  Rainforest Passes in the Senses Spa is a must do (I’ll do a separate, more detailed review on that in a later blog post).

That’s all for now, folks.  Part Two of this post will come to you in a couple of weeks.  Thanks for following along and if you have any questions or would like to talk to me about booking your own Disney Cruise (you can even take the kiddos; I won’t judge!), feel free to contact me at my Facebook page, Magical Vacations by Tracy or by email at tracy@magicalvacationsbyme.com.  You can also follow me on Instagram HERE.

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Mickey’s Crew Members can regularly be found in the main atrium!

Tracy Hurdle is a work-at-home mother of one and a former social worker turned travel agent.  She’s always had a love of travel planning and couldn’t be happier at being given the opportunity to do so on a broader scale with families just like yours.

IT’S HERE!!!

THE BIG DAY IS UPON US!!!

CHECK OUT THE FIRST ARTICLE TONIGHT AT 8PM EST!!

A GREAT READ FOR ALL OF YOU WHO ARE TECH SAVY AND

LOVE DOING THINGS FROM YOUR PHONE!!!!!!mickey cell phone cover

Have a passion for writing?

Hey Howdy Hey!!! Have a passion for writing and looking for a blog to join? Mouze Kateerz is looking for new writers as we gear up to start posting new articles on September 1st! Our writers have a love for Disney and traveling. Looking for energetic new writing with possible perks that are still in the works for those who write on a regular basis for Mouze… If you are interested please contact us at Dreammaker1974@gmail.com with your name and email with a sampling of your writing on Disney, Universal or family vacationing and one of our Administrator’s will review it and be back in touch with you.

Happy writing!!

quill and ink

Why I Love My Disney Visa

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I know that credit cards are usually not part of “love” posts but since I learned how to use credit properly I feel very empowered by the bonuses from Chase! Recently I went back and forth between upgrading my Disney Rewards Visa to a Premiere card and found that there are both advantages and disadvantages to upgrading. Of course I thought I’d share with you the pros, cons, and perks!

First of all the major allure of either card is that you earn Disney Dream Rewards dollars. These go into a rewards total and can be cashed out once you reach $10 ($20 the first time since they are loaded into a reusable card). You earn 1% back on everything but with the Premiere card you earn 2% on many purchases. Both also offer 0% Disney vacation financing for 6 months, a $50 Disney Cruise Line onboard credit, and in park perks like discounts on merchandise and meet and greets. The catch on the Premiere card is that you have an annual fee of $49. (Remember that all this info is subject to change as per Chase bank.)

Here is a little bit of info that may make you want to open a new line or switch to a new account: As of new credit legislation in 2010 Chase has frozen interest rates. What does that mean for you? Well most rates were higher a couple years ago AND for those of you in a position like me (I’ve had my Disney Visa since day 1 which happened to be when I was in college and had no credit history) you may have an interest rate higher than you desire. Since Chase is not renegotiating rates or running yearly adjustments for the time being you may want to look into applying for a Premiere- my APR is half on my Premiere card what it is on my original Disney visa!

Bottomline: with my Premiere card I have to pay $49 per year but as long as I keep going to Disney World I will earn that back pretty easily in rewards dollars. Plus when you first sign up the gift card bonus is $50 more for the Premiere card so it sort of pays for its first year! If you know your family would take advantage of using your card for points AND paying it off each month then you should def look into these cards! With savvy spending they can help you get to Disney World! 😉

Thank you for stopping by Mouze Kateerz. We value feedback from our readers and welcome your comments.
Magical Vacations by Distinctive Journeys is ready to help you plan your next magical vacation. Please visit them at Magical Vacations by Distinctive Journeys on facebook, on the web at Distinctive Journeys or 404-414-6198 or mickeyinfo@distinctive-journeys.com

 

Melissa DonaldBy profession Melissa is a 9th grade World History teacher, but by nature she is a lover of all things Disney. She has always been a bit of a bookworm and has believed in fairytales since she was a little girl. (Her favorite heroine and princess is Belle.)

When she isn’t teaching, snapping pictures to post on Picturing Disney on Facebook, updating her photoblog Picturing Disney, or prancing around Disney Parks like a kid, she is lives her life filled with love, laughter, and happily ever after in New York with her husband and their adorable dog.

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Free Beer on a Disney Cruise!

Cruise beer

By Frances

With the price of a Disney Cruise line vacation being larger than most, my husband and I are always looking for ways to save money. We aren’t big shoppers. We will usually pick up an ornament on each vacation and let our kids pick up one or two items that they have saved their money for. We aren’t big foodies so we don’t make reservations at Remy’s or Palo’s. I’m allergic to sulfur so wine packages are out of the questions. However, we do drink beer. The Refillable Beer Mug is perfect for us

When do you purchase a Beer Mug?: You can purchase a Disney Cruise line Beer Mug for $14.95 + 15% gratuity once on board or after you complete your online check in. The Benefit: The beer mug is 22 oz. and you only pay for a 16 oz beer. You receive 6 oz for FREE! This is only available for draft beer but it’s still a great deal.

How Does It Work?: You simply take your mug to any bar that has draft beer and you will receive 22 oz of beer for the price of a 16 oz draft. Price per draft varies depending on any specials and the draft purchased. $5.75-$6.95 average.

Cruise Beer token

But I don’t want to keep track of an empty mug…: The bars will exchange the mug for a beer mug token when you are finished to take the weight and responsibility of the the glass mug off your hands until you are ready for a refill. You will receive a clean and chilled mug each time.

How do I clean the mug to take home? At the end of your cruise you exchange a dirty mug or token for a clean mug to pack in your luggage. It makes for a great souvenir.

Thank you for stopping by Mouze Kateerz. We value feedback from our readers and welcome your comments.
Magical Vacations by Distinctive Journeys is ready to help you plan your next magical vacation. Please visit them at Magical Vacations by Distinctive Journeys on facebook, on the web at Distinctive Journeys or 404-414-6198 or mickeyinfo@distinctive-journeys.com

 

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Love to Take a Disney Cruise? July is the Month for HUGE Savings!

can you afford a Disney cruise, take a Disney cruise, save money on Disney cruise, Disney cruise ship photo, Disney cruise photo

Dreaming about taking a Disney cruise? The price getting in your way? Our Mouze Frances says that July is the time for you to take the plunge and get on that Disney Boat! Now is the time to save big…  [Read more…]