Aug 242016
 

When not using the Disney Dining Plan, eating can be expensive.  We always pack a small hard exterior carry on luggage with snacks and non-perishable breakfast items.  This way, you save money on food and have extra room to bring back special purchases!! (Submitted by Nathalie J.)

 

Best of Be Our Guest Podcast

BOGP Logo 300x300x72Each issue we will feature a snippet of what you could learn by listening to the Be Our Guest Podcast. Be sure to check back each issue for more fun.

Episode 1056 – What’s Included – Disney Cruise Line Entertainment

We needed to relax today and head out to sea!  Mike, Pam and Rikki discuss those things that are included in your Disney Cruise Line fare that really make the experience incredible!  From desk parties to trivia to first-run movies, we talk about our favorites!

The Be Our Guest Podcast is hosted by Disney lover Mike and co-hosted by fellow Disney aficionados Pam and Rikki. The show covers everything from listener experiences to questions about how to make the most of your dream trip to the world! We hope you will join us each week as we share our love of all things Disney and hope you will share yours as well.

The BOGP family has members from all over the world and we hope you will join us!

Listen to us every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at Be Our Guest Podcast!

Jul 132016
 

If arriving at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort by car and you checked in online you must enter the building by the courtyard side first.  Once you unlock your resort room with your magic band then your band will allow you to unlock the building doors from the parking lot side.  We wasted a lot of frustrating time because we couldn’t get into the building from the parking lot and thought our bands were not working. (Submitted by Robin M.)

 

Best of Be Our Guest Podcast

BOGP Logo 300x300x72Each issue we will feature a snippet of what you could learn by listening to the Be Our Guest Podcast. Be sure to check back each issue for more fun.
Episode 1038 – 5 New Things from Mike’s Walt Disney World Vacation

 

Mike joins Rikki and Pam to discuss his recent trip to Walt Disney World and sailing on the Disney Cruise Line!  We discuss some “new” things that we hope you find interesting!  From the “Business Class Advantage” at Coronado Springs to using Amazon Prime Now and Pantry to save some money, to new strategies for your FastPasses at Epcot to even the best ice cream on-property, we have lots to share!

The Be Our Guest Podcast is hosted by Disney lover Mike and co-hosted by fellow Disney aficionados Pam and Rikki. The show covers everything from listener experiences to questions about how to make the most of your dream trip to the world! We hope you will join us each week as we share our love of all things Disney and we hope you will share yours as well.

The BOGP family has members from all over the world and we hope you will join us!

Listen to us every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at Be Our Guest Podcast!

Jan 272016
 

By Teresa Pittman

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I strolled through the airport, dragging my Minnie Mouse suitcase behind me. A young couple smiled at me, and the wife said “Are you just back from Disney World?”

“Actually,” I replied, “I’m just back from a Disney cruise.”

“Oh,” she said. “We love going to WDW, but we figured the cruises were just for families with kids. Is there anything to do for adults?”

She may have regretted asking me that question, as I spent the next 15 minutes or so listing all the activities the Disney Fantasy offered for adults, but they seemed both interested and surprised. I’ve heard similar comments from other people I’ve met, too. Disney’s TV commercials have tended to focus on families, so they may have perpetuated that myth. But I’m here to tell you: a Disney cruise is a whole lot of fun for adults traveling without kids, too.

Like me. I’m single and a grandmother. I’ve cruised with my family in the past, but my last two cruises – one on the Dream and one on the Fantasy – were “girlfriend getaways” with friends.

So what can adults do on a Disney cruise?

  • You can relax. Really relax. Are you worried that your attempts to sunbathe or read a novel will be ruined by hordes of screaming children running past? Stop worrying. Just head to the adults-only decks and stretch out on a handy deck-chair. Every now and then a smiling CM will show up to ask if you want a drink. No kids in sight.
  • You can relax even more. If your past few weeks of work have left you exceptionally stressed, or you just want some pampering, a visit to the ship’s spa may be in order. Watch the Navigator for special offers – I had a great “anti-sunburn” treatment the day after spending too much time on the beach at Castaway Cay. And be sure to check out the Rainforest Room.
  • You can be entertained. You’ve heard that Disney Cruises offer Broadway-quality shows, and that’s true. Trust me, adults enjoy these as much as the kids do. There are also family comedy and magic shows throughout the day. In the evenings, though, many of those entertainers return to the stage with adult-only versions of their shows. It’s Disney, so we’re not talking X-rated by any means, but the humour is a bit more geared to an adult audience.
  • You can exercise your competitive side. Think you know everything about Disney? Or do you shine at general trivia games? You’ll have your chance at fun trivia competitions held throughout the cruise – and you could even win a nice prize or two. Or challenge your friends and family to a mini-golf game up on the top deck.

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  • You can learn something new. Take a tour or try a class. I learned to draw some Disney characters while discovering a bit about the history of animation. I also tried my hand at folding towel animals – let’s just say that wasn’t my best work. The mixology class gave me and my friends a chance to make and taste five different drinks while being entertained by a very skilled bartender.
  • You can shop. Until you drop, if that’s what you like. The shops on board have a nice selection of items, including clothing and accessories, and every port will have some attractive shopping options.
  • You can explore new places. One of the reasons cruises are so popular is that you get a chance to check out several ports, without unpacking, going through airport security or any of the other hassle travelers can face. You can book excursions ahead of time – Disney lists some, or you can go online to find others – depending on your interests. Or you can just wander around the port, do a little shopping or have a meal or a drink.
  • You can eat without kids. Each of the Disney cruise ships offers at least one adults-only premium restaurant, where you pay a little extra for a fancier meal and a kids-free experience. Even if you don’t choose that option, though, taking the second seating for dinner will usually work. Most of the kids who are present will leave as soon as they finish eating – whisked away by the kid’s club staff – and you can linger over dessert and drinks.
  • You can party! The nightclub section of the ship is as lively and fun as you could want. Wander from one themed area to another, or find your favorite and hang out there. You’re sure to find a place that plays the music you like. And at the end of the night, no worries about finding a cab to get home. The Pirate Party that ends with fireworks will have plenty of kids joining you, but the adults seem pretty good at getting into the pirate spirit.
  • You can be alone. Not the partying type? Hang out on your balcony with a room-service snack and drink, watching the waves. Cuddle up with your partner and watch a movie on your cabin TV. Pick a secluded corner on the adults-only deck and dream for an hour or two.

I’ve really barely scratched the surface here. Disney cruises are naturally fun for families, but they have just as much to offer for adults traveling without little ones. Of course, there’s one more bonus about a Disney cruise – if you want to, you can become a kid again! Get your photo with Mickey, scream as you zoom along the Aquaduck, solve the clues in the moving pictures and dance with the pirates on the pool deck. And maybe that’s the best way of all to relax.

May 202015
 

In each issue we share tips from our readers. If you have a tip to share send it to us at info@magically-speaking.com.

We’re looking for your best tips to share with us all about touring Star Wars Weekends.

This is a very crowded event and you simply will not be able to do it all in a single day. As such, you’ll need to decide what is most important to you ahead of time and do those things first. If you have children eager to take part in the Star Wars activities such as the Jedi Training Academy and Padawan Mind Challenge, plan to arrive early and sign up for these events as soon as the park opens. Want to ride the popular rides, make sure to get a FastPass+ in advance for Toy Story Mania and ride Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster as soon as you can. Then relax and take in some of the Star Wars fun. If you would like photos with some of the Star Wars-themed characters such as Jedi Mickey line up early; consistently, Darth Vader seems the most popular with the longest lines. If you’re looking for “limited edition” Star Wars merchandise, buy it early before it sells out!

Best of Be Our Guest Podcast

BOGPLogoEach issue we will feature a snippet of what you could learn by listening to the Be Our Guest Podcast. Be sure to check back each issue for more fun.

Episode 856 – Thanksgiving on the Disney Fantasy

Join us and listener Jeff who discusses his family’s Thanksgiving 2014 7-Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise on the Disney Fantasy.  Hear about the ports of St. Maarten, San Juan, Castaway Cay and more!  Also hear about the stateroom for a family of 5 and great dining and entertainment onboard!
Listen to the podcast every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at Be Our Guest Podcast!

May 202015
 

Disney Cruise Line - Longer Cruises are Better Cruises

By Ginamarie Palmieri

My family and I will not be cruising this year. My four year old son is not pleased, but, I’m going to share something with all of you that I have been sharing with him. I would rather spend this year saving up money so that next year we can book a longer Disney Cruise vacation, because longer cruises are better cruises.   If you have not had an opportunity to take a 14 or 15 night cruise, you may not know why this mantra holds true, so this article will share some tips and information about what makes a longer itinerary an excellent decision.

First, a longer itinerary gives you the opportunity to visit more unique ports of call, including some that may be once-in-a-lifetime visits. Whether you choose to take a 14-night Panama Canal itinerary that takes you through the locks of the canal or a transatlantic cruise with day after day at sea without sight of land, these experiences are only available on longer itineraries. We found a special peace in sailing across the ocean much like our ancestors had 100+ years ago (albeit in better accommodations). By taking these longer itineraries, we were able to visit places like Aruba, Puerto Vallerta, St. Kitts, Madeira, and the Canary Islands. These ports felt like special opportunities, and since they were off the beaten path, we did not have to compete with multiple other cruise ships at the piers like you may find on Eastern or Western Caribbean itineraries or in the Bahamas.

One of my favorite things to experience on a Disney Cruise is the food, and longer itineraries mean you have far more opportunities to try more food. This is beneficial in several ways. For one thing, with more sea days on your trip, there are more slots available for things like Palo brunch or dinner. This makes it less likely to get locked out of brunch due to lack of availability. In fact, we have found that Palo dinner reservations are easy to obtain on longer cruises, even after you get onboard.

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In the main dining room, a longer cruise gives your servers the opportunity to get to know you better. While service in the dining rooms is always good, it is even better when your servers know your preferences a couple of nights into the cruise, and then you have another 10+ days still to share with them. One caveat- after 14 nights with your dining team, you may be even more likely to ask them to come home with you!

The longer cruises also give Disney Cruise Line the opportunity to create special menus just for your cruise. These menus may contain local ingredients and cuisine or relate to a special celebration or show scheduled for that evening. We always love seeing some new menus to go alongside some of our old favorite menus (like Captain’s Night or the Pirates in the Caribbean menu). We also love having multiple opportunities to sneak up to the shwarma station or the poolside grill for some lunch.

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Longer cruises also tend to have a lot of extra events onboard. These range from extra dining opportunities like a royal princess tea or a character breakfast to extra evening activities like flamenco dancers in Spain and mariachi bands near Mexico. We have seen extra specialty acts onboard (Alfonso Ribeiro and Joey Fatone did a cabaret show one year) and participated in lecture series by Imagineers, Disney artists, historians and nature experts.  We also experienced a beer tasting session that we never would have found time to do on a shorter cruise with fewer sea days. Another benefit to a longer cruise is that many of the activities onboard will get repeated, so if you miss a dance party or a character meet and greet there are no worries- you can make sure to add it to your activity list the next time it is offered.

Conversely, longer cruises also give you more opportunities to relax rather than feeling like you need to squeeze in a new activity every minute. We treasure the time spent at the pool, riding the water slide over and over, or finding an empty window seat or deck chair where we can watch the ocean fly by.

I know what you may be thinking- Disney cruises are expensive and a longer Disney cruise is going to be even more expensive. However, there are also some financial incentives towards longer cruises. For one thing, the per diem rate on a Transatlantic or Panama Canal cruise is often a good deal lower than the per diem price on sailings from Port Canaveral (part of this reason is that these longer itineraries are offered on the “classic ships” rather than the newer Disney Dream or Disney Fantasy). This means that the long sailing may be more expensive overall than a shorter one, but if you average out the price per day, the longer itinerary is less expensive per day.

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Additionally, while these itineraries are twice as long as a 7-night sailing, things like an unlimited photo package do not double in price. We have been able to take hundreds of pictures while on these longer itineraries, making the photo package an even better deal for us. Since we were onboard longer, it meant we were able to make good use of things like wine and beer packages as well. While the embarkation/debarkation ports may be more expensive to get to than a round trip cruise from Port Canaveral, by spacing out these cruises to every 2-3 years, our travel expenses become equalized.

The biggest downside to taking a long Disney Cruise itinerary is that it’s hard to go back to the shorter cruises! In fact, many people who take one of these itineraries feel compelled to continue taking longer Disney cruises. On our last Transatlantic cruise (September 2014), the vast majority of people onboard were not only Castaway members, but also people who had taken a prior Transatlantic cruise (including most of our sailing party).

Overall, I hope that this article has piqued your interest in some of Disney Cruise Line’s longer itineraries, and maybe I can catch you onboard a future sailing.

Feb 112015
 

 

We’re looking for your best tips to share with us all about touring the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival! In addition, if you’ve been to Disney California Adventure and visited Hollywood Land for Frozen Fun, we’d love to have your best tips too!

I recommend for all little girls (and also the big girls too) to purchase glow-in-the-dark fingernail polish before a Disney trip.  It’s great for the dark rides!  The problem is that it can be a bit challenging to find when it isn’t October, so order you may need to order it online or stock up during Halloween season! (Submitted by ssdavis)

Best of Be Our Guest Podcast

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Each issue we will feature a snippet of what you could learn by listening to the Be Our Guest Podcast. Be sure to check back each issue for more fun.

From Episode 817 – Christmas on the Disney Fantasy

Listener Ed shares his family’s experience traveling on the Disney Fantasy at Christmas! He shares that if you’ll be sailing on Christmas, you’ll see a lot of people wearing their Christmas pajamas wondering the decks on Christmas Eve! So if you will be cruising then, don’t forget to bring those awesome PJs!

To hear more about Ed’s wonderful Christmas cruise, listen to this episode!

Listen to the podcast every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at Be Our Guest Podcast!