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Is Vacationing With Your Family Really Important?

Is vacationing with your family really that important? This is a question that I have received before, and my answer is always yes. I mean, you do love your family, right?

This resonated with me recently as we traveled and visited one of our sons. You see, the pandemic in 2020 stopped us from seeing him for 299 days. When you are close with your grown children, this makes the days and months so long. So why was this year so important to visit? When you are a military family, you appreciate your time together, even when it is short. You cherish those moments and look forward to it, just like a vacation! We knew deployment was coming so we took every opportunity to travel to him and spend time together.

I felt compelled to write this blog and I hope it inspires you to travel with the ones you love, no matter the destination. When your children are small, they look up to you, and they crave your attention and time. A vacation is one of the best ways to experience and capture these moments. When they are grown, they love it even more. Why you ask? They have the freedom of being grown and exploring on their own and still capturing those moments and attention with you. These are the things in life you and your kids will never regret. Take the vacation, no matter how big or small, or the destination, trust me, just go! You will smile looking back on these years together.

Love your family, embrace your time together, and keep on making those memories!

Ready to Sail Alaska?

Alaska is one of our most requested cruise destinations and with good reason; it has it all. Nature, history, breathtaking scenery, and you can explore by train and aboard a cruise ship!

If you have been dreaming about going to Alaska, now is the time to make those dreams come true! You can sail onboard one of Alaska’s most popular cruise lines and we know which one will fit your travel style! You won’t regret it. We want to tell you of the six most significant reasons you should cruise to The Last Frontier sooner rather than later.

1. You decide which cruise line to take. Sailing in Alaska extends from the middle of May to mid-September. During these months, you won’t likely see a shortage of cruise line options. Choose to go on a luxury or expedition-style cruise or maybe something a little more unique.

2. Alaska is desirable to people of all ages and tends to be high up on many bucket lists. Many families come here each year to enjoy the beauty of the great state and the broad scope of activities and events.

3. The wildlife is absolutely out of this world. When traveling to Alaska by cruise ship, don’t be surprised to spot bear hunting for fish, whales, eagles, and several other beautiful creatures.

4. Dare to go dog sledding? You may have to take a helicopter ride to get into the mountains first. This could be one thrilling adventure. Best of all, you get to hang with sweet huskies all day.

5. Go on a land tour before or after your cruise. Hike through the Denali National Park or the Kenai River Valley.

6. Don’t wait, right now, you can see the nation in all of its iconic glory. From lush forests to enormous glaciers, there is so much to admire and capture those Alaskan travel memories!

Alaska truly is one of the most magical places on Earth, and it’s right here in the United States. If you, like almost everyone else, have “visit Alaska” on your bucket list, what are you waiting for? There’s no better way to visit the state than by ship, so contact us now to start learning of all the cruise line options. Before you know it, you’ll have a one-of-a-kind vacation planned that will undoubtedly bring you memories that last a lifetime. 

Skagway Alaska
Denali National Park and Preserve

5 Reasons Curacao Needs To Be On Your Caribbean Radar for 2022

Curacao is destined to be the next big thing in the Caribbean travel scene! With Sandals opening a new resort next April, it is time to dig in on why you need to see Curacao! We love all-inclusive resorts, and they are a great value. However, you should consider visiting outside the resort and

When planning a trip where the fun in the sun and beaches you only see on television is concerned, the Caribbean is one of the premier destinations in the world. It is an area that people flock from all over to admire the beauty and fun the Caribbean delivers.

When people think about going to the Caribbean, they often visit St. Kitts, Grand Cayman, Saint Martin, or Antigua. These are amazing places with so much to offer visitors, but they are not the only choices. There is an island that tends to get overlooked by many: Curacao.

5 Reasons To Consider Curacao

Curacao is a beautiful island located just east of Aruba and just off the coast of Venezuela. Curacao has so much to offer visitors, and here are five reasons why Curacao needs to be on anyone’s radar if they’re looking to take a trip to the Caribbean.

  1. The Beaches. 

Anyone traveling to the Caribbean is going because of their desire for fun under the sun. There are 35 different beaches to hit while visiting Curacao. So many beaches considering that it only takes an hour and a half to drive the island’s length. Every beach has a personality of its own; there is a beach that will suit any visitor’s desires.

  1. Affordability

Sticking to a budget is important to every traveler, and Curacao can help travelers stay within that budget. Curacao is ranked as one of the most affordable of the Caribbean islands to visit. Another great thing about Curacao is that it is located outside the hurricane belt, so traveling during storm season doesn’t pose a real issue.

  1. Nightlife

Curacao has a hopping nightlife scene for those looking to fill your days and nights with fun. Live music is a staple of this multicultural island, and all types of music can be heard, from jazz to soca. There is going to be the perfect bar or watering hole for any traveler.

 4.  Art.

If you are looking to partake in a bit more of a sophisticated type of fun, there are plenty of arts across the island to enjoy. From excellent art galleries to stunning murals across the cities, there is an art to be enjoyed everywhere. There are also multiple museums for visitors to see and enjoy.

  1. Culture.

The island of Curacao is a multicultural place that has a varied history. Citizens of Curacao carry a Dutch passport, but from the native Arawak people to the Spanish, Portuguese, and Jewish peoples, there have been many influences on this island. Its proximity to South America also adds to its diversity.

Curacao is a place that every traveler needs to consider. It is a beautiful island that has as much to offer travelers as any of the other more popular island destinations. Maybe the fact that this island flies under the radar of many Caribbean travelers can be another reason it is such a great place. Happy travels!

When you are ready to explore the Caribbean’s best kept secret, contact me and let’s start the fun planning!

Your Guide to Picking The Best Time To Visit Walt Disney World

Our biggest question received, when is the best time to visit Disney World? My suggestion is to consider the following things and then decide when you should visit the most Magical Place on Earth!

  1. Your children’s schedule. I know you are always busy with your children’s activities throughout the year. You should consider which weeks are the most convenient to travel with them. Keep in mind school attendance and test requirements. If you do not have worry about this, move to step #2.
  2. Are you dreaming of the sweet treats and international food cuisine options? If you said yes, then consider one of the festivals for a wide variety of amazing foods, including treats, and plan your dates accordingly. Dates will vary for each, but the months will stay close to the same.
  • Taste of Epcot International Festival of the Arts January to February
  • Taste of Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival March to July
  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival July to December
  • Epcot International Festival of the Holidays November to December
  1. Consider the Crowds! When the schools are out on break, families are eager to visit. The major holidays are also busier because many guests want to celebrate the holidays together in Disney World! If you can visit when the schools are in session and not during the holidays, you will see lower crowds. My favorite months are January, February, March, October (typically hot but I love fall), November, and December.
  2. Pricing and Promotions! Reflect on #3 and consider the slower times because this will be when you will see the best pricing and promotions. The easiest way to break it down, Disney will use the lower pricing and promotions to fill the rooms and resorts. Have you ever wondered why your resort was not included in a promotion? The promotions are going to be used for a set number of rooms at each resort that is need of being filled. The resorts that sleep families of five are limited on promotions because there is a high demand.
  3. Final thoughts to consider:
  • If you love the holidays, November and December are for you!
  • January and February tend to see ride closures due to refurbishments.
  • Want cooler temperatures? Consider November through February; March can also see nice temperatures.
  • You can visit Disney World at any time. The important thing to remember is thoughtful planning is important to create magical memories.

Our agency visits Disney World every 4-6 weeks so we can provide our clients with the most current information. We would love to help you plan your next memorable vacation to Happiest Place on Earth! If you have any questions or want to reach out for a quote, feel free to reach out to me at tammy@fairytalesandsunsets.com

Magic Kingdom
Disney After Hours Boo Bash

Experiencing all that Hawaii offers

Aloha! We are about to visit the Big Island and Oahu soon.  I thought this would be a great opportunity to share some of our favorite things to experience in the Hawaiian Islands. There is so much to see and do in Hawaii. One of the biggest requests we have from clients is an all-inclusive experience. In Hawaii, you will not find all-inclusive resorts because the food and culture experiences require you to leave your resort and experience the islands.

This Central Pacific archipelago includes hundreds of islands and a diverse range of activities to partake in. With huge waves, volcanoes, and interesting culture, Hawaii will keep you busy and entertained. These are eight top things to enjoy while visiting the beautiful atoll.

Whale Watching – The ‘Big Island’ is the most popular destination for whale watching in Hawaii. The peak season to catch a glimpse of Humpback whales is from January to March. You have the option to view via a cruise or private boat tour.

Luaus – These traditional ceremonies are a major source of entertainment on all islands within Hawaii. Take the opportunity to enjoy live dancing, learn about Hawaiian as well as Polynesian culture, and enjoy delectable cuisines.

See a Lava Show – Hop aboard a World-class catamaran to get up and close to the volcano fingers as they enter the sea. You will have thoroughly trained staff aboard, and safety is paramount. You can select from a tour in the morning, sunset, day, or twilight tour.

Helicopter Tours – Various tour lines offer unique aerial journeys that allow you to view the breathtaking Hawaiian scenery. From volcanoes and waterfalls to hidden valleys and majestic coastlines. A helicopter tour is truly an ideal way to sightsee.

SUP (Stand-Up Paddle Boarding) – This activity originated in Hawaii and is a derivative of surfing. SUP is soothing and allows you to explore the waterways on your terms. An excellent paddle path to take is from the Lanikai Beach to the Mokulua Islands.

Horseback Riding Tours – Explore the coastline or venture to hidden trails on an exploratory horseback tour. Most companies offer private as well as group tours. Some countless ranches and stables accommodate tourists. Paniolo Adventures is one of the largest, with an 11,000-acre cattle ranch located in Waimea.

Mauna Kea – This dormant volcano is a unique wonder to explore and erupted over 4,000 years ago. You can hike the summit but be sure to stop by the VIS (Visitor Information Station) to check for weather and safety tips.

Kona Coffee Farm Tour – Kona coffee is some of the best gourmet coffee that you can find and is world-renowned. Kailua Kona, which is located on the ‘Big Island,’ is the heart of Kona coffee. When taking a tour, you will get to see processing facilities as well as the coffee fields. Don’t forget to take some time to indulge in the popular beverage.

Grab your gear and take charge of your getaway with these great suggestions that will be sure to make your experience fascinating. All of our team members are Hawaiian Destination Experts and would love to help you plan your next Hawaiian vacation!

Pearl Harbor
Hawaii

Should You Attend Disney After Hours Boo Bash or Disney Very Merriest After Hours?

We just returned from Disney World and attended the second Disney After Hours Boo Bash Party. The party hours were 9:30pm to 12:30am. Here are our thoughts on it and how you can decide if the After-Hour events are right for you.

Disney After Hours Boo Bash was so much fun! We experienced lower crowds, short wait times, our favorite character cavalcades, and of course Mickey snacks and drinks. The DJ Dance Party was hopping with guests having a ghoulish time!

The Character Cavalcades included:

  • Mickey’s Happy Halloween
  • Disney Villains
  • Jack’s Nightmare
  • Maleficent’s Fiery Prowl

The Disney Photopass® were taking magical shots. What a great way to celebrate with your family and friends by capturing those magical moments! Another Disney fan favorite is having access to purchase exclusive After Hour Disney merchandise. We have learned over the years that when you see something at Disney you want, buy it then or you will miss out!

The Trick-Or-Treat locations were well appointed throughout the park. Don’t worry, they hand out bags at the beginning in case you forget to bring your own bag. There is also a teal-colored bag for our allergy friendly friends. You grab this at the start and at each treat location, they will give you tokens you will cash in at the end of night.

Let’s not forget the Specialty Food and Beverages.

  • Mocha Chocolate Chip Frozen Drink- perfect to keep you going until the end of the night!
  • Apple Ginger Dale Frozen Drink- frozen apple cider with ginger ale, topped with Twix candy bar pieces, and whip cream
  • Prince John Sucker Frozen Drink- Tart green apple lemonade slush topped with a ring pop
  • +18703150225 Maleficent Churro- extra sweetness with chocolate cookie crumbles, purple icing, and green and purple sprinkles.

Now that we shared our Boo Bash experience, here is our take on the Disney Very Merriest After Hours. This event runs from November 8th through December 21st on select nights and begins at 9pm to 1am.

First, we understand the price is more expensive. Disney added an extra hour to the Merriest After Hour event, so you have 4 hours of holiday magic and fun!  It is important to remember this is not your traditional seasonal parties, it is an after-hours event.

Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade will have your favorite Disney characters and Santa Claus.

Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks Show will light up the sky, plus you will get to see the regular nighttime firework show, Disney Enchantment!

 If you have any questions on this event, feel free to email us at travel@fairytalesandsunsets.com

 Important note: you can enter the park at 7pm with your After Hours ticket. When the party starts, you can experience lower wait times, enjoy sweet treats, magical photo opportunities, plus see some of your favorite Disney characters.

 We think both After Hour events are worth the cost and would do it again. We visit Disney World every six to eight weeks so that we can stay on top of all the changes for our clients. Let us help you plan your next memorable Magical vacation!

Click here to watch Disney Villains Halloween Cavalcade

Disney After Hours Boo Bash
Disney After Hours Boo Bash

Costa Rica is Your Next Adventure

I visited Costa Rica a few months ago and quickly feel in love! This is the perfect destination for our clients because it offers so many unique adventures! Plus, a major bonus is the opportunity of relaxing at some of the best springs and resorts in the world! Pura Vida is a way of life in this friendly destination.

Costa Rican life consists of endless beaches, rainforests, river valleys, and biodiversity all in one place, allowing different types of adventure around every corner. Many airlines offer non-stop routes to this country, making trips easier for people and travel more accessibly.

Forest Ziplining
Whether it’s through the evergreen Monteverde Forest with the Arenal Volcano’s view or through the vibrant jungle canopy, ziplining is very common and one of the most popular tourist activities in the Costa Rican jungle.

Wildlife
Nearly 25% of the country is preserved for national parks and wildlife. It is home to 27 national parks and takes up five percent of the world’s biodiversity. The Los Quetzales National Park allows birdwatchers to get a full aerial view of the various species of birds. Monkeys are very apparent in the jungles as well. The Corcovado National Park is another prominent place to visit for frequent whale-watching and dolphin sightings.

Surfing
Towns such as Samara, Avellanas, and Tamarindo are great places for year-round surfing on these Pacific and Caribbean coasts. The warm water and steady wind combo make Costa Rica a surfing paradise. Many of the beaches offer boards and lessons for beginners.

Volcano Hike
The massive Arenal Volcano is one of the most well-known spots in Costa Rica. The surrounding area around the volcano is often used for kayaking, boating, and paddleboarding. Hot springs and waterfalls are also present, with zip lines and horseback riding available below the volcano summit. Rincon de la Vieja National Park’s centerpiece is another million-year-old volcano that offers views of the Nicoya Peninsula and Lago de Nicaragua.

Jungle Tranquility
The natural hot springs with a green background provide geothermal waters heated by the volcano. The springs have been utilized for therapeutic healing in addition to simply relaxing in the tropics.

Waterfall
La Fortuna waterfall by Arenal is an approximated 20-minute hike presenting a massive waterfall with a jungle backdrop. Another favorite is located in Tenorio Volcano National Park in the Northern Plains, offering bright blue waters. Lesser-known waterfalls include Bajos del Tori in the Alajuela province and Catarata del Toro, which plummets into an extinct volcanic crater with aerial views.

Rio Rafting
Named as a Biosphere Reserve, Rio Pacuare offers a white-water Caribbean experience through the safari-like jungle. According to National Geographic, it is one of the top spots for white-water rafting. The highlight of rafting in the Rio Savegre includes coming into contact with the jaguars, tapirs, and birds that pass by the riverside.

Jungle Drives
The 4×4 is recommended for the best driving experience throughout Costa Rica. The off-beaten paths present unique views but require vehicles that can beat their own path. Driving on the beach, however, is not permitted. Another favorite way for locals to get around is via horseback.

Deep Diving
The majority of shore islands on the Pacific coast are the hub spots for scuba and deep diving, offering plenty of sea diversity with various species of sharks, dolphins, and much more. A renowned spot for divers is The Gulf of Papagayo in the Guanacaste province.

Yoga Retreats
Aside from the adventurous and bold activities offered in Costa Rica, yoga retreats are available for leisure in the peaceful surrounding.

Costa Rica Beach
The Springs Resort and Spa

What You Need to Know Before Booking Your Next Walt Disney World Vacation

Hello, I visit Walt Disney World multiple times a year. Since the pandemic, I have focused on going at least every other month to stay up to date on the new changes. Here are my best takeaways for you before you start planning.

  1. This is the most important; Park Pass Reservations! I have seen more times than I care to admit guests arriving to Disney with no Park Pass Reservations and being denied entry! This is required to enter the Disney theme parks in Orlando, with a valid theme park admission ticket. Without a Park Pass Reservation, you will NOT be allowed to enter the theme park.
  2. We highly recommend booking with a travel agency that specializes in Disney Destinations. You do not want to trust your vacation to anyone that doesn’t stay up to date on the current changes. Why not use a travel designer that knows the destination inside and out? Put your tax dollars back into your community and support small business.
  3. Temperature Checks: You will have your temperature checked every time you enter a Walt Disney World theme park; even if you leave and come back. You will also have your temperature checked before entering Disney Springs.
  4. Face Masks! They are required on Disney property, including the theme parks and Disney Springs. Anyone ages 2 and up must wear a face mask. Do yourself a favor before going and find one you prefer and bring a few extras so you can swap out during your stay.
  5. Your Resort Pool. The pools have capacity limits so you may have to wait to swim if your pool is at capacity when you arrive.
  6. Memory Maker Photos. Disney’s policy is noted that if anyone in your photo has removed their face mask, you will not be able to download that photo. This is their policy so if you do not wish to follow their guidelines, then we recommend you do NOT purchase Memory Maker.  You can take an outdoor photo while stationary while practicing social distancing without your mask.

I hope you found this helpful. If you have any questions, please let us know. We specialize in Disney Destinations and would love to help you plan your next Magical Vacation!

We provide a day-by-day itinerary, provide insider tips, book your dining reservations, and assist before, during, and even after you travel should you need us.

Dreaming about Sandals South Coast

Who doesn’t love a vacation in the Caribbean with amazing ocean views? I recently enjoyed a four night visit to the Sexy Sandals South Coast in White House, Jamaica! I wanted to share my experience because I know you will love it too!

What makes this resort so unique?

This resort is situated in the middle of a nature preserve. You are surrounded by beautiful mountains, lush landscapes, and the spectacular ocean views of the Caribbean in Jamaica, which I feel makes it so special! All the rooms are beachfront with the only exception being the new South Seas Swim-Up Rondoval Butler Suites! This means you have some budget friendly options that are also beachfront! This is an amazing perk to this resort friends!  

There are three extraordinary European Villages. The Italian, Dutch, and French Village, which all offer beachfront accommodations. You also have two unique accommodation options: Over the Water Butler Honeymoon Bungalows and the South Seas Swim-Up Rondoval Butler Suites with your Private Pool Sanctuary! With these amazing accommodation options, it is understandable why many dates sell out quickly!

You will enjoy nine dining options, authentic jerk chicken, and blue mountain coffee, which is my personal favorite! Unlimited land activities that are sure to keep you happy during your Jamaican vacation! Snuba, scuba, and more options are available too (some have fees)!

I have to give a shoutout to the Red Lane® Spa. The Rain Drop massage is my personal favorite and heavenly! I always suggest booking this on your second day if it is available so you can start your vacation completely relaxed and set the mood for the week!

Over the Water!

Over the Water Bar, Latitudes, is the best place to watch those gorgeous Jamaican sunsets! Grab your favorite cocktail and a seat as you prepare to be wowed! If you do not have a favorite cocktail, ask the bartender to make their specialty. The bartenders here always have their own signature drinks!   

Over the Water Wedding Chapel! When you say “yes”, let us help you plan your destination wedding. We know the best spots and all the details you need for your special day. We will work with you and the phenomenal wedding team! They help with everything you need for your special day! After all, when you say “I do”, it should be all about you!

More reasons we love Sandals & Beaches Resorts

They have the highest staff to room ratio. They are perfectly located in the world’s best beaches in the English speaking Caribbean destinations. They offer Butler accommodations so you can feel pampered from the moment you land in your destination. The 5-Star Global Gourmet™  is one of the best perks! You can find something for everyone in your travel party! Your food, top shelf liquor, activities, shows, and most water sports, are all included!

How can we help you get to paradise? We travel and experience the destinations so we have first-hand knowledge for you. We also work directly with the staff and have relationships that benefit you should you have special requests or concerns. We can help match your vacation dreams to the best destinations and room accommodations that fit your travel style!

Ready to request a quote? We are currently offering packages in to 2024 and would love to assist you!

Should You Rent A Car For Your Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando Vacation?

There are many ways to get around Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort. We have used the theme parks transportation, Uber/Lyft, and renting a car. Renting a car for your Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando vacation is an easy process, and probably our favorite.

Once you exit your plane, you will head to luggage on Level 2. Once you grab your luggage, head down to Level 1 and go to the car rental desk. There are several to choose from and we booked Alamo. We had to provide our return flight information or pay a $300 deposit. Once you complete the rental process, you will exit the airport and go to the crosswalk for your vehicle. The staff will tell you the process to get your vehicle.

There are a few important things to remember.

  1. You will pay a nightly parking fee at your resort.
  2. You will be billed for toll roads. (Usually, a month later and will be separate charges from the rental)
  3. You can park for free at your Walt Disney World theme park because you have paid for parking at your resort.
  4. You will pay for parking at Universal Theme Parks, even if you are staying at resort.
  5. Construction around the theme park areas is always evolving and a consistent change. Please know the area you are driving and remember safety.

Pro Tip: Always do a video and take photos with your phone to confirm the condition of the vehicle when you picked it up. Keep these until after you return the rental.