Saturday, August 27, 2011

Aboard the Disney Dream.

I have a confession to make, one that won't come as a surprise if you listen to the Mouse Chat podcast:  Until last week, I had no desire to go on a cruise ship.  I can't really put a finger on why:  I mean, what is it about unlimited amounts of food and relaxation that didn't appeal to me?  And it's not like I was basing my feelings on anything more than one slightly disasterous (don't ask) crossing of the English Channel (pre-Chunnel years).  But last week, I got to tour the Disney Dream and it took about 30 minutes to change my mind.  Here's what did it:


Yes, I was won over by the thought of using this spa. Come on, I'm only human. What mom doesn't dream about having a spa day while the kids play happily . . . somewhere else?   You can get a pedicure in these chairs above. The best part is that they're right across from a large bank of windows that look out to the ocean.  You can also have a soak in these tubs right outside. 


In addition to every treatment you can think of, there's also a well-equipped fitness center full of the type of equipment you'd find in a better gym. One of the agents on our tour is a personal trainer and he used the gym on his last trip on the Dream and gave it a thumbs up.


I was really impressed by the dining options on the ship. This restaurant is known as the Enchanted Garden, with pretty art deco style booths. The ceiling is made to look like an outdoor trellis that changes from bright morning light to moonlight as the day passes.

We ate at this buffet-style restaurant, called Cabanas. It's located near the main pool and was excellent.



You can also try more upscale restaurants like Palo or  Remy for a small additional charge.  



The pools were really extraordinary, especially the Aquaduck waterslide that goes out a tiny bit over the ocean.  A little scary, but I can't wait to try it.


The Nemo play area is for kids up to 8-years old.  It's completely closed off and supervised, so you don't have to worry about little ones running off while you're in your blissed-out post-spa happy place.
.

For kids three and up, there are play areas that are free of charge. The areas are segregated by age and are full of creative things to keep them entertained. 
I loved this area called Pixie Hallow. There's a cupboard with princess dresses for little girls to play with as well.


Andy's bedroom is a must for any kid who loves Toy Story.  I know I'm not the only one who had to fight the urge not to climb through Slinky Dog.


Kids can even crawl on Andy's bed.  Parents can too. Shhh. Don't tell anyone.


I'm so happy the Dream changed my mind and can't wait to give it a try!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I'm going to Disney World!



You may have noticed that there have been fewer posts around here lately. Well, in addition to the free dining frenzy (which was both crazy and full of good lessons), I've been getting ready to go to Disney World for the week. I'm leaving tomorrow morning for the Agent Education Program. I'll be back Friday night with stories of Cirque du Soliel, resorts, an Illuminations dessert party, and any other good stuff I can find out about.

Have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Will the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Be Cancelled?


I like fun Disney gossip, but this certainly isn't welcomed news. There's a rumor going around right now that the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride that was scheduled to be part of the new Fantasyland expansion might be scrapped.  Disney fans have been hearing grumblings for weeks now that the engineering behind the ride just wasn't working, which in turn meant that they couldn't design the track or even the building itself.  Now we're hearing that the entire ride is being cancelled.

You might remember the announcement that came out of Disney last year that elements of the Fantasyland project were being tinkered (sorry) with. The elaborate Pixie Hollow was out, as were several princess meet and greets.  Why? Well anyone who looked at the original plans could see that the area was too centered around little girls. And while Disney recognized that the whole princess trend is huge, and very profitable, focusing on a very small segment of the guest population to that extent just didn't make sense.  Besides, how many meet and greets do you need? 

One solution that fans readily welcomed was the addition a dark ride right in the middle of the expansion.  While the characters were taken from a fairytale, this wasn't another princess ride. Instead, by using the Seven Dwarfs, Disney added characters into the expansion which have widespread appeal, both for the casual fan and those who recognize the role of  the movie Snow White is Disney history.  From a ride perspective, the ride was to be a bridge between Goofy's Barnstormer and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, sort of an opportunity for younger guests to try out a "big kid ride" before going on Thunder Mountain.  And the concept seemed appealing, even for adults.

As much as I find the collective hand-wringing and concern among Disney fans interesting, it's highly unlikely that the Mine Train ride is going to be cancelled in favor of going back to the original plan for meet and greets.  Disney doesn't want that kind of gaffe out there.  They've promised a ride. It wasn't just a rumor.  Therefore, a ride is coming.  I think what we'll see is a re-design of the original idea if these reported problems are true.  We always knew that the ride was going to be one of the last completed in the expansion and you have to expect little bumps along the way. No one wants  repeat of the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey debacle over at Universal, where the seats had to be re-designed. Better to fix those problems now than later.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Just a Reminder, Gift Card Offer Ending Soon.

Like a hot summer day, this offer will be gone soon.
Too corny?

I'm still doing the gift card offer until August 31, 2011. Here's how if works:  Book a new trip and you'll receive a gift card based on the final amount of your vacation when you travel.  Gift card amounts are as follows:

  • $25 for vacations worth $1800 - $2599;  
  • $50 for vacations worth $2600 - $8999.
  • $75 for vacations worth $9000 - $11,999.
  • $100 for vacations worth $12,000 - $15,000.
  • $150 for vacations worth more than $15,000.
  • Get a $25 gift card for referrals over $1800 when the client travels.
This offer is in addition to Disney's discounted promotions, so you have nothing to lose.  We don't charge for our services or impose cancellation penalties so you'll always do at least $25 better than booking directly with Disney.

These gift cards are not from my agency. They come directly out of my commission, so I have to add a few exclusions for practical reasons:

  • Multiple room bookings are not combined. You will receive a gift card based on the amount of your per-room booking.  For example:  Three vacations booked at $3000 each will receive three $50 gift cards, one per room.  Conversely, rooms that fall under the $1800 threshhold cannot receive a gift card.
  • Total amount excludes airfare, which Disney travel agents do not receive a commission on.
  • This offer is not available for "takeovers" from Disney.
  • The final gift card amount is based on your total before travel.
  • A gift card is not available with Pixie Vacations exclusive deals such as the December promotion or the Food and Wine offer.
This offer is good until the end of summer!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Free Dining is Out for Fall 2011 and Spring 2012. UPDATED


Here's the first bit of information on free dining for fall.  These dates are included in the offer:

Dates for 2011:

Oct 2-8

Oct 23-Nov 5 *

Nov 13-19

Nov 27-Dec 3

Dec 11-17
 
Dates for 2012:

Jan 8-14

Jan 22- Feb 4

Feb 12-18

Mar 4-10

Mar 25-31
 
Three night minimum stay, 2 day ticket purchase required (even for you annual passholders).  Values will receive free quick service and moderates and deluxe resorts will receive the base (regular/plus) dining plan.

You can apply this to your existing reservation. We expect these dates to be very limited, so get in as soon as you possible can and add those reservations.

Just a reminder, I do a gift card for every client who comes from this site and books a vacation over $1800. Just email me at ChrisW@PixieVacations.com.

*Please note the change to the October black out dates. I found out about it 30 minutes ago while on the phone with a CM just as she got the email, so I'm hoping this is accurate now.