Our Favorite Value Resorts at Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World offers a variety of resort options to accommodate everyone’s travel needs. I wanted to share my top picks for the value resorts. The value resorts are the lead in category at Disney World.

It is important to note that this category for the resorts will offer the cheapest amenities. For example, the coffee pots are Cuisinart, so you will not find a Keurig at the value resorts.

The value resorts offer around 260 square feet with two queen beds (one is a queen size table pull down bed), and one sink. The room sleeps up to four adults.

My favorite is Disney’s Pop Century Resort. This resort does not share buses, is attached to the Disney Skyliner, and offers three pools. The theming is so much fun and grandparents, parents, and kids love it. Step back in time with the decades from the 50’s to the 90’s. You can enjoy life-size Walkman’s and Rubik’s Cubes or walk your way through the giant foosball.

Disney’s Pop Century Resort is a solid resort for your stay. You will love the resort pools, the food court, quicker transportation to the theme parks, and access to the Disney Skyliner.

My second favorite are the Little Mermaid rooms at Disney’s Art of Animation. The theming is cute, and this resort does not share buses. You also have access to the Disney Skyliner. It is important to note that the Little Mermaid rooms are usually excluded from Disney promotions.

If you are looking at the remaining value resorts, they are very similar with their amenities. The only difference is the theming. Disney All-Star Movies is my top pick for no reason other than the theming around the property. Disney’s All-Star Music and then Disney’s All-Star Sports is my least favorite. All the value resorts are great, these are ranked by my favorite to least favorite. 

When you are ready to book your next Magical Vacation, email Tammy Richardson.

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!

Travel Day or Park Day?

Should we visit a Theme Park on the day we arrive and/or the day we travel home?  It’s a question we are asked quite frequently.  We understand you want to get the most of out of your money and your trip.  So, do you hit the ground running or do you pace yourself?

I have found through both personal experience and listening to my client’s testimonials, unless you are local to Walt Disney World Resort or Universal Orlando, I would recommend declaring both your first and last days at the destination, a travel day. 

To put it simply, travel days are hard at any age.  In most circumstances, you have an early flight to catch.  Then you have the hustle and bustle of getting through TSA and your flight to your destination.  With family in tow you know that someone is bound to be hungry as well.  What should the plan be when you finally arrive at your resort? 

I find this is the best time to take a rest, then explore your resort and see all they have to offer.  Take a swim in the pool to refresh and rejuvenate the tired eyes, grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants on site to keep yourself and your family full and happy.  Perhaps enjoy a movie under the stars to unwind and relax from your day of travel if your resort has that feature.

You can also choose to visit Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort or CityWalk at Universal Orlando.  Both of these are shopping/dining districts where you do not need a ticket to visit.  There are many entertainment venues built in as well that you can visit to keep the family happy.

Once your trip is over, most everyone in the family is exhausted.  You will have walked what will seem like a million miles.  You may just be looking forward to getting back home and seeing your family pet that you’ve had to leave behind.  Some choose to make this last day a travel day so that they can slowly begin the “back to reality” routine.

However, there are many of you that still want to squeeze in those last-minute items that you either didn’t get to or would like to revisit.  If you decide to make a go of it, please be sure you factor in the following things.  Your transportation to the airport from your resort will pick you up anywhere between 2-3 hours before your flight home.  Also, think of everything after you land at home, grabbing bags, getting home and settled.

In conclusion, you as a family have to decide what is right for you.  Only you know your family and what they can handle.  If you are rockstars and can keep going without skipping a beat – more power to you!  If you’re the average family, like mine, I think leaving your travel days as such are the way to go! 

Christine Ruszkay has over 3 + years specializing in all Disney destinations, Cruises, and Universal Orlando.  Her joy of planning your vacation comes from her passion to help others experience the happiness and excitement while making memories on your AMAZING trip!  Her concierge services offer insider tips and tricks, plus helping you maximize your time with your family to experience what matters most to you!  

Walt Disney World

What You Need to Know about Walt Disney World’s Reopening

We stayed onsite for the reopening of the Walt Disney World theme parks. There are so many things we want to share with you. First, my walk down Main Street U.S. A. in Magic Kingdom was overwhelmingly emotional. The cast members clapped us in the park like a pep rally and shouted welcome back and welcome home. Being a part of this was truly Magical and heartfelt! If you want to view those videos, click here! 

Here are the most important things we learned:

  • Face Masks are required in all areas of Walt Disney World, including the resorts. You can stop to eat or drink and remove your mask as long as you are social distancing. Find a spot away from everyone.
  • Before entering the theme parks, you must go through the temperature screening tents and have your temperature checked.
  • You can leave the park and come back in the same day. However, you will have to have your temperature checked each time you return. Remember, no park hopping is allowed at this time.
  • Security checkpoints are different. Currently, the only thing you place in the bins are umbrellas, metal drink containers, and aerosol cans. Everything else you keep on you and walk through the screening point.
  • You scan your Magicbands but you do NOT use the finger scanner anymore.
  • Check your park maps for “relaxation stations” in each park. These are mask free zones and are cool comfortable areas to take a break.
  • There are hand sanitizer dispensers throughout each park, plus at the entrance and exit of attractions and shows.
  • Be patient please. They must stop certain attractions and clean them. If you are waiting in line, this is a fast-thorough process. Remember, there are no FastPass+ for rides or attractions currently.
  • There is only one entrance and one exit at the food courts, attractions, and stores. Follow the flow for safety and physical distancing. 
  • There are Disney PhotoPass photographers. You will have to wear your mask for photos. You will also not receive Memory Maker photos if you remove your mask during any ride.
  • You MUST use the My Disney Experience app to order food at quick service locations or use the QR code. I find the My Disney Experience app is easiest.
  • All restaurants, quick service locations, and snack kiosk are running on limited menus. Not all snack and quick service locations are open as well. We will have more on the dining situation in another blog post for you.

We hope this helps all of our great travelers! Let one of our travel designers plan your next Magical vacation! Get your quote here: 

Ready to Wear a Mask in the Theme Parks?

We recently visited Universal Orlando because we wanted to share our experience with our clientele. It is not my favorite thing to wear; however, I would wear one to visit the theme parks.  Here is what we learned with some tips!

  1. Find a mask that is comfortable to you. You will wear your mask at all times unless you are in your room, dining/eating, drinking, or swimming.
  2. If you plan to wear disposable masks and will be visiting the theme parks multiple days, bring extra. It is hot and the smell is not appealing after a hot day in the parks.
  3. The worst time to be in the parks in a mask is from 1pm to 3pm or whenever it is the hottest time of the day. This is the perfect time for a break!
  4. If a cast member reminds you to wear your mask, please be nice. They are doing their best to ensure the safety guidelines are being followed by all guests. Remember, we are all in this together!
  5. Wear a hat or sunscreen to prevent those crazy mask tan lines.
  6. Keep your face and skin hydrated.
  7. We experienced what I call “phantom mask” at night. You have your mask on all day and feel like your mask is still on, even after you have removed it. This could be irritable for the little ones, so I suggest practicing with them before your trip.
  8. Drink lots of water, staying hydrated is best during the warm summer months in Florida!
  9. Contact us for your next vacation. We are always here working for you!

Tammy Richardson designs vacations for families and couples with a focus on identifying your vacation needs and dreams. At Fairytales and Sunsets Travel, we specialize in the destinations we book and we also research by visiting them.

 Click here to discover your next adventure with us!

Disney Vacations

As a Disney travel expert, I want to help you plan the most Magical experience for your family.  Walt Disney World is among the most sought out destination among families of all time.  There isn’t a time of year that is off limits to the Magic that Disney can offer.  The busiest times of year are during the holiday periods, school breaks, summer breaks, and weekends year-round.  The least crowded times are during the winter months.  These are the best pricing months as well!

Did you know that Disney vacations are more than just Walt Disney World and Disney Land Theme Parks?  Disney offers so much more!

  • Disney Cruise Line
    • Caribbean
    • Mediterranean
    • Northern Europe
    • Alaska
    • London
    • New York
    • Southern California
    • Barcelona
    • Copenhagen
    • Rome
  • Adventures by Disney    
    • Asia, Africa & Australia
    • Central & South America
    • Europe
    • North America
    • River Cruises
  • Resorts
    • Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa – Hawaii
    • Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort – South Carolina
    • Disney’s Vero Beach Resort – Florida

There is one thing that is for sure, you won’t have a Disney vacation without it being Magical!  If you are ready to book your next Disney adventure, call me.  I am ready to help you create memories that will stay with your family for a lifetime!

Experiencing the World with Your Kids Is So Important

Experiencing the World with Your Kids Is So Important!

Our agency helps families experience the world together. This brings so many benefits for you and your children. We want to share why this is so important for you to use those vacation days and take your family on an annual vacation.

Here are our top five reasons to let us help you plan your next getaway.

  1. It strengthens family bonds. In our world today we are so busy with work, extra-curricular activities, attached to our phones and social media, that we rarely have time for dinner together. Think about it, how much time do we really have with each other at night?
  2. It enriches their minds and helps them experience different cultures and new things. Best of all, this all happens with you and creates a lifetime of memories.
  3. You all unplug and come back recharged. If you’re lucky, your kids may even come back and actually like each other. 
  4. You, yes you, get to let loose and enjoy life! Living in the moment and experiencing captivating moments with your family can bring you to tears. 
  5. Be a part of your kid’s firsts: first time to ride a roller coaster, first time to walk the beach in the Caribbean or Hawaii, and first time using their Passport. 

These are moments your kids will embrace and remember for years to come. It will be memories they will share with their kids. You’ll be ready to experience it all over again with your grandkids and grown children. 

We would love to help you plan your next family vacation or adults only getaway. Let our concierge team help you plan your next vacation because travel moments turn into cherished memories.

Extra, Extra Magic Hours News!

We are excited for the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We also realize the new land will be popular with large crowds. Disney has just announced they will offer Extra, Extra Magic Hours at Walt Disney World for three of their theme parks with specific dates and new times (Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios). This will include Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

Here is what you can expect this Fall:

  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios — Each day beginning on September 1st through November 2nd, 2019, the park will have Extra, Extra Magic Hours from 6:00am to 9:00am. Yes, this includes Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Toy Story Land attractions, and select other attractions. August 29th through August 31st, 2019, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will open at 6:00am for all guests. This means there will not be any Extra, Extra Magic Hours during this time.

  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Each day beginning on August 29th through November 2nd, 2019, the park will have Extra, Extra Magic Hours from 7:00am to 8:00am. This will includePandora – The World of Avatar and other attractions throughout the park. You can experience the same attractions that are offered now with Extra Magic Hours.

  • Magic Kingdom Park Each day beginning on August 29th through November 2nd, 2019, the park will have Extra, Extra Magic Hours from 7:00am to 8:00am. You can experience the same attractions that are offered now with Extra Magic Hours. (Fantasyland and Tomorrowland).
  • Epcot will continue as normal with Extra Magic Hours on select days. There are no changes being made to Epcot’s Extra Magic Hours.

Please note these important requirements:

  • Requires a valid theme park admission and hotel identification.
  • If you want to visit more than one park in the same day, you must have the Park Hopper Option.
  • Times and offerings are subject to Walt Disney World schedule and attractions changes, without notice. 

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and its experiences are subject to availability and capacity.

Disneys Hollywood Studios
Disneys Animal Kingdom

Our agency specializes in all Disney Destinations. We would love to help create Magical moments for your next Disney vacation.

Tammy Richardson Certified Sandals Specialist


Nashville, TN, July 3, 2018 – Certified Sandals Specialist Tammy Richardson of Fairytales and Sunsets Travel, LLC has successfully completed ALWAYS NEXT LEVEL, the latest Sandals Resorts’ travel agent workshop and is now fully prepared to share with travelers the most exciting reasons to visit the Caribbean’s leading Luxury Included® resorts right now. 

According to Richardson, the immersive workshop covered all that’s new and exciting across the Sandals Resorts International (SRI) family of brands that include adult couples-only Sandals Resorts; family-friendly Beaches Resorts; Island Routes Caribbean Adventures for fun excursions in the Caribbean and is a critical opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge of these distinct brands.  “From the opening of Sandals Royal Barbados, Sandals’ second luxury resort here and the launch of Aisle to Isle, a new destination wedding program to Beaches Resorts’ groundbreaking certified autism centers, travelers can be confident that my counsel is informed and expert,” said Richardson.

Richardson is a Certified Sandals Specialist (CSS), part of an elite group of travel agents recognized by the travel industry as experts in the world’s only Luxury Included® Resorts.  ALWAYS NEXT LEVEL fulfills the crucial educational requirement for travel agents pursuing their Certified Sandals Specialist designation.

“We applaud Tammy Richardson on this tremendous accomplishment.  CSS agents are uniquely qualified to help travelers select their best Caribbean vacation, and it is a sincere pleasure to recognize Fairytales and Sunsets Travel, LLC for their dedication to serving their clients so well,” said Gary Sadler, Senior Vice President of Sales for North America at Unique Vacations, Inc., an affiliate of the worldwide representatives for Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts. 

Tammy Richardson specializes in Disney Destinations, Universal Orlando Resort & Universal Hollywood, Sandals and Beaches, Hawaii, and Saint Lucia. Contact Tammy for your next amazing vacation!