A Few Disney News Bites

Hello everyone!  There are a number of little Junior News stories about Disney from the past week or two, so I’m going to toss them at you and ask: what are you most excited for?

1: The Jingle Cruise!

Disneyland and Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom will both be giving a holiday makeover to the classic Adventureland attraction, The Jungle Cruise. The holiday theming will begin “in early November”, so presumably sometime in the next week or two?  From Disney’s description:

In this new seasonal storyline of the attraction, the Skippers have grown homesick for the holidays, so they’ve added holiday cheer to the Jungle Cruise queue and boathouse with decorations that have been mailed to them from home (plus a few they’ve created themselves). The Skippers have also added a slew of new jokes to their tours that are the perfect way to get guests in the holiday spirit. Additionally, Jungle Cruise boats have been renamed with the holidays in mind, and if you listen carefully, you may hear a holiday-themed radio broadcast playing in the background.

My thoughts: I love the idea of a Jingle Cruise – I’m not sure why, I just do – but I’ve always been struck by how the Skippers on the Jungle Cruise are such smartasses. ;D  Somehow it seems weird to me that they’d be so sentimental as to get “homesick” and decorate for the holidays!  But that’s just me.  I’d still love to see this!  What do you think, are you for or against this makeover?

2: New Lounge at Hollywood Studios’s Brown Derby restaurant!

One of the nicer restaurants at Hollywood Studios, the Hollywood Brown Derby is now opening an outdoor patio lounge area for guests.  The area is shaded with umbrellas and menu offerings include beverages (alcohol included), small bites – that’s “fine dining” for appetizers – and some really luscious desserts:

Small bites are on the menu and include artisanal cheeses, charcuterie, duck confit tacos, steamed Prince Edward Island mussels, Derby Cocktail with jumbo lump blue crab, black tiger shrimp, avocado and a horseradish-tomato juice, and two Derby Sliders – a Wagyu beef slider with cognac mustard aïoli, smoked gouda cheese, bacon and avocado; and a house-made chorizo slider with chipotle mayo, manchego cheese, pickles and crispy onions.

You can also just stop for dessert, with Chocolate Three Ways (praline milk chocolate cream, crunchy ganache and orange-chocolate mousse), a banana-white chocolate toffee tower on a cocoa-almond cookie and bananas Foster, or strawberry Champagne cheesecake.

Reservations are not accepted and the lounge won’t take the Disney Dining Plan – this is important to know.  The Brown Derby is on the DDP for *meals*, but not lounge.  However, if you have Tables In Wonderland, it applies!

My thoughts: I’m boring and I don’t go to lounges. I should! but I don’t.  I’m a park commando most of the time, because I need to fill up on Disney experiences while I’m there. Then I think of all the things I missed once I’m back home. 😉

3: Reimagined Disney Magic!

Image (c) The Walt Disney Co./Disney Cruise LInes

Image (c) The Walt Disney Co./Disney Cruise Line

The Disney Magic has been relaunched (cautiously!) with new sailings out of Miami, Florida.  The ship has not been just refurbished, but reimagined, with new spaces and activities and experiences all over the place.  Among the most exciting are the AquaDunk, a water ride that begins with a VERY sudden drop – the floor opens beneath you! – and the Avengers Experience, a kids’ section of the boat with activities and Marvel Comics characters such as a Captain America meet & greet!

My thoughts: They had me at “Cruise ship”. 🙂

So?  What are you most excited about?  Are there any that inspire a yawn and a pass?  Leave a comment and let me know!

Travel Tip Tuesday: What is a VGT Room Rate?

This is the first in what might be a sort-of series, which I call “Know before you go”!  It might be a series and it might just be this one post, we never know with me and that’s the fun. 😉  Anyway, here I aim to give some extra details on things that might be unclear when you travel or are planning a trip.

For this post, I’m going to start out with a particular kind of cruise rate on the Disney Cruise Line called a “GTY” or “*GT”.  This can be in the form of IGT, OGT or VGT and they all mean the same thing: GuaranTeed stateroom. IGT is for Inside Staterooms, OGT is for Oceanview Staterooms, and VGT is for Verandah Staterooms.

I am onboard with this offer. (Get it? Onboard? GET IT?)

I am onboard with this offer. (Get it? Onboard? GET IT?)

Now that it’s explained what it stands for, what does it mean?  Why would you need to know this?

In answer to the first question, these acronyms are used for room rates that are a significant discount off of the full rate for those stateroom types.  They are usually released just a short while before the cruise sets sail, in order to sell off rooms. (It is TOTALLY legit; this is not a “stay away from this offer it’s a scam” or anything. It’s a great deal so long as it fits your requirements!)  To answer the second question: you need to know this because sometimes you will run into this amazing great deal and you’ll see “OGT” or whatever, and you won’t know what it means, and you won’t bother to find out, and you’ll just book the amazing rate.  And the reason it’s important to know this is because the GT rates come with restrictions.

There are numerous ones, but the most important ones to know in advance are this:

– They must be paid in full at the time of booking
– The booking must be completely new
– The rates are non-refundable
– The rates are non-transferable
– You do not get to pick your stateroom or even where on the ship it is
– Your stateroom is assigned to you when you check in so no info is available in advance except that it’s guaranteed and it will be an Inside, Oceanview, or Verandah (depending on what GT you booked)

It’s kind of like Priceline, you have to be in a state where you can say “Okay, I am DEFINITELY ABSOLUTELY taking this trip and I don’t really care what I get as long as it’s on the boat”, and then you get what you get.  Having said that I haven’t seen many people say “I got a VGT stateroom and it was awful!” – it’s been the reverse, in fact – so, although it’s a gamble, it appears to be one worth taking.  But you do need to know what you are getting beforehand.  Hence the purpose of this blog post. 🙂

Last thing to note: there are not always GT rates available on a particular cruise, so it’s not a great idea to bank on them opening up if you have already picked out the cruise dates you want and don’t have any flexibility.

Dancing on the beach is optional with this rate.

Dancing on the beach is optional with this rate.

Contact Fairytale Journeys by Rebecca Kelly for free travel advice, booking assistance, research and more!  I can help you find the best rate, find out things to do, and be sure to explain any restrictions up front.  No cost to you!  Follow on Facebook or Twitter, or email me!

Promotional Consideration!

Code words for “Travel Agent Post!”

If you’ve been following for a long time you know that I’m not only a Disney fanatic but also a travel agent specializing in Disney vacations – I’m affiliated with Fairytale Journeys, an Earmarked/Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. (Disclaimer: I’m NOT affiliated with Disney. Very few of us independent TAs are unless you count our undying devotion and belief in what we’re promoting. *G*)

Anyway, from time to time I offer promotions for particular kinds of bookings.  Some are bigger than others; a few days ago on a whim I decided to do a quickie but biggie.  From now until the end of August, I’m offering a shipboard credit worth at least $50 for any Disney Cruise line booking to the first person who contacts me to book.  ANY!  With the potential for MORE than that, depending on the final cost of the cruise fare!  It’s not dependent on where you go, when you go, how many people are sailing – you will get at least $50 in shipboard credit from me.

This could be yoooooouuuu! Img (c) Walt Disney Co.

This could be yoooooouuuu! Img (c) Walt Disney Co.

But this only goes to the first person who contacts me before September 1, 2013.  You don’t have to book by then, just contact me, and if/when you do book I’ll have a note in your file about the credit and make sure it’s applied for your trip.  Most amenities on the cruise ships are included, but you can use this for shopping, for spa treatments, for cocktails, and more!

The second and third people to contact me about booking a cruise will receive $25 each (or more, again depending on the total cost, but that first $25 is guaranteed!) if they book.  This is a special offer and is not standard with all cruise bookings, so you’ll want to act now to take advantage of it!  If you’re on the fence, you can contact me with any questions you have, and I’ve got materials I can send you (Disney’s Cruise planner DVD, brochures, and so on!) if you’d like.

Literally the greatest thing I can think of right now. Img (c) The Walt Disney Co.

Literally the greatest thing I can think of right now. Img (c) The Walt Disney Co.

There is NO bad time to take a cruise!  However, just as a hint, you’ll get the best fares around January-February, and in October.  Coincidentally, October is a great time to go, because this year they are holding Halloween themed parties on all four Disney Cruise ships, and a full-on Halloween cruise experience on the Disney Dream!  For an ultimate experience, you can book a land and sea vacation with a Disney Halloween cruise and a Walt Disney World stay… Tickets for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party are still available, as are plenty of delicious experiences at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival!

Contact me for quotes; you can email me at rebeccak@fairytalejourneys.com, message me on Facebook, or leave a comment here!

A quick aside: I don’t anticipate having any bookings that would not qualify for the $50 credit; however, there are always unanticipated situations that pop up and I reserve the right to not apply this offer if such a situation arises. This would be in a case where, for some reason, the credit ended up costing me significantly more than what I would earn on the booking.  Again, I don’t anticipate this situation occurring but in case it does. Thanks for understanding!

Disney Dreams: Stuff I’d Like to do, Cruise Edition

I will be here someday, looking at this in person. Oh yes I will.  (I did not take this picture.)

I will be here someday, looking at this in person. Oh yes I will. (I did not take this picture.)

A few years ago when my daughter was 2, just before my husband and I started trying to have our second child, there was a really amazing deal on Disney Cruises.  Since we’d only be paying for ourselves (due to our daughter being 2, as mentioned), we seriously considered it, but there ended up being too many unresolved issues.  Mainly, like, how would we pay to get down to FL from MD?  How would we do it, fly or drive?  Since our daughter wasn’t completely potty-trained she couldn’t go into most of the pools and couldn’t be left in the kid clubs.  Would she be upset by this?

In the end we decided to save our money for a bigger, longer trip to WDW, and go to the beach for a few days.  And we had fun.  Even though there was no Mickey there.

The thing is, though, that in the four and a half years since that time I have wondered over and over, what if we had gone?  I’ve never been on a cruise of any kind, and I’ve never been to the Bahamas.  Should we have thrown caution to the wind, only lived once, and taken that opportunity when we had it?

So instead I’ve made myself a promise, that if ever we do have the money available and that opportunity comes back, we are TAKING it.  Both kids are old enough, and yes we’d have to pay for both but if we HAVE the money then that’s not a problem.

And now, the opportunities are so much more amazing.  Four and a half years ago there were only two ships, not four: no Disney Dream or Disney Wonder.  No Aquaduck.  No European cruises and Greek Isles.   No magic portholes.  If I can only go once (and Lord willing, I will go more than once, but I did say IF), I’d rather it be now than a few years ago just so I can get to do these new things.

The problem with the whole “once in a lifetime” idea is that I have a few too many things I’m intent on doing.  I want to go to Castaway Cay AND the Meditarranean AND Italy.  I want to see castles AND beaches.  And as many doggone characters as I can!  And I want a room with a verandah, so that every morning I can step out and feel the wind in my hair and just sigh.  Just one big, happy sigh before I head on out for breakfast on my perfect boat.

Fairytale Journeys By Rebecca Kelly launched!

My Travel Agent website is officially launched!Fairytale Journeys by Rebecca Kelly – First Fifty Hits Get Free Money!  (This is COMPLETELY not true.  I am trying to drive traffic.  Please do not contact me for your money.)  Subscribe Today for Life-Changing Views and Methods! (again, not true.)

In all seriousness, this page will give all the information about what services I can perform as a Disney Travel Agent, and give you the contact information to get in touch with me.  Please do. I look forward to working with people.  Contacting me is a no-obligation kind of thing because all we’ll do first off is discuss what you WANT to do, and I won’t sign you up for anything, bill you for anything, or draw funny mustaches on your pictures.

You can also Like my business page on Facebook, which will keep you in touch with Disney promotions as well as promotions I may offer just for booking with me!  (There are no guarantees that I will be running one at any given time, but I am being serious this time.)  You can also follow me on Twitter and my updates go there too.

This is not my photo.  I used it with permission on my site.

This is not my photo. I used it with permission on my site.