Ditching the Lines at Disney

Want to avoid standing in lines on your Disney trip? There IS a way to do it that doesn’t involve getting to the parks hours before the sun rises or following a tedious park-touring plan that leaves no room for spontaneity. It’s as simple as picking the right room and paying for a little extra Pixie Dust! Sometimes spending a little more on the front end can save you tons of time in the parks, where time is precious.

Disney began a pilot program earlier this year that I think is the most cost-effective way to minimize your time spent in line at the parks. This program allows guests who are staying in a Club Level room at a Deluxe Resort the option to add some extra features to their park tickets. These features can make a huge difference in how much you get done in a day.

Here’s how:

  • First, I get to book three extra FastPasses for you per day in any park (with the purchase of a Park Hopper ticket). All park tickets come with three FastPasses, but they can only be used in one park. This benefit allows you to get three more, for a total of six FastPasses per day that can be reserved before you even leave your home! You also still have the ability to book additional FastPasses in the parks once you’ve used your initial allotment.
  • I can book those six FastPasses 90 days prior to your travel date! This is significant because it lets me secure those hard-to-get FastPasses (like Flight of Passage, Slinky Dog Dash or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train) a full 30 days before anyone else traveling the same time as you even has access to them! And 60 days earlier than anyone who is visiting the parks and not staying on Disney property! This is even more beneficial during peak travel seasons.
  • Even better, there are no restrictions on what FastPasses I can book for you*. What does that look like? It means if you want a FastPass for all three of the rides in the new Toy Story Land, no problem! So while the average guest is allowed to choose only one of those three rides, you can ride all three with a FastPass and you still have three more passes to use on other rides or in another park! *The only limitation is the same ride cannot be booked twice for the same day.

If you’re staying in a Club Level room, these extras can be added to your theme park ticket for $50 per person, per day, with a 3-day minimum purchase. It’s a way to guarantee you get to experience the most popular rides with minimal wait.

But let’s not forget the other perks of staying Club Level!

Let’s start with THE FOOD! Each of the Club Level lounges has complimentary food from the restaurants in that resort. At the Club Level lounges you’ll find continental breakfast; beverages and snacks throughout the day; appetizers with wine and beer in the evening; and desserts and cordials to cap off the day. Depending on your resort, the Club Level lounge may offer outstanding views of evening fireworks.

There are other Club Level amenities such as concierge hosts dedicated to making sure your stay is magical; evening turn-down service with a little treat left on your pillow; upgraded toiletries; and complimentary newspapers and business services.

Staying Club Level isn’t necessary to experience a fantastic trip and make magical memories with your family. I make sure you are prepared to navigate the parks in the best way possible for your family. But if you’re looking for convenience and a great way to add some magic to your stay, this is it!

Want to get started? Here’s how to reach me: Email achambers@neverlandadventureguides.com, call/text 501.772.3137, send a FaceBook message or REQUEST A NO-OBLIGATION QUOTE: Request a Quote

Want to see what my clients have to say about my services?
Check out their reviews Here!


The Low-Down on Disney Resorts

If you haven’t figured it out yet, every mother, father, sister, uncle, aunt, neighbor or mailman will offer you an opinion on where you should stay for your Disney trip. And while they mean well, here’s the deal: They’re telling you what worked for their family, which may not be what works for your family. And that’s where I come in!

Deciding where to start and choosing a place to stay is where most people begin to feel overwhelmed. So I’m going to give you the nuts and bolts of the key differences between Disney’s resort categories so you can decide what priorities matter most for your family. Once you decide where to stay, I help make sure the rest of the planning comes together seamlessly!

While there are lots of differences between each of the Disney resort categories, I’m going to focus on the ones that are most likely to have an effect on your overall experience. But first, I’m going to give you my opinion, for what it’s worth: I hear a lot, “The room doesn’t matter because we won’t be spending much time there anyway.” While this may be true, the ONE thing that is completely about the adults on this trip is your comfort and the resort you choose will definitely affect your comfort level.

In my opinion: The single most important thing differentiating the price categories is that you are trading price for convenience. I’ll elaborate below.

Value Resorts: Value Resorts are a great fit if your primary concern is budget. The location of the Value Resorts puts them the furthest from the parks. Most of the rooms have double beds (instead of Queen-size beds, although Disney is in the midst of upgrading some resorts to have Queen beds) and they are quite small, averaging about 260 square feet. To put that in perspective, the industry average of the typical hotel room in the U.S. is 300-350 square feet. Don’t let the heavy theming at the Value Resorts suck you in to choosing a room that is too small for your family or one with a bed type that might not be the most comfortable for you. All of Disney’s resorts are kid-friendly and your kids (if you have them traveling with you!) are going to love the resort, no matter which one you choose. Pop_Century_RogerRabbit

Other items to consider: The Value Resorts are large and spread out, with between 2,000-3,000 rooms at each resort, meaning you may have quite a hike to/from your room (1/4 to ½ half a mile); the rooms can only accommodate four people, unless you plan to stay in a Family Suite, which is pricier; the pools don’t have extra water features such as slides; the rooms open to the exterior (important during hurricane season); the only transportation option is via bus; and there are no sit-down restaurant options.

Moderate Resorts: Moderate Resort rooms average about 314 square feet, so that’s more in line with the typical hotel you stay in and some rooms can accommodate families of five in a standard room. The beds are Queen size and the bedding is upgraded (so that mattress and those sheets might feel just a bit better after a day of fun at Disney!). Similar to the Value Resorts, the Moderate Resorts are expansive and have about 2,000 rooms with exterior facing doors. The Moderate Resorts are a little more centrally located, so it takes a little less time to get around, with your mode of transportation being the bus system. PO_Riverside_marina

Other items to consider: There will be a table-service restaurant onsite as well as a lounge bar; the pools have water features like slides; and there are often other entertainment options such as recreational boating.

Deluxe Resorts: Here is where the price vs. convenience factor I mentioned earlier comes into play. The average number of rooms at a Deluxe Resort is about 900, with some as small as 700 rooms. That means a LOT fewer people competing for resources! Additionally, at most of the Deluxe Resorts, you will have multiple modes of transportation options. That could mean the monorail and a boat and a bus. Or it could mean you can walk to Magic Kingdom or Epcot. (Animal Kingdom Lodge, Old Key West and Saratoga Springs are the exceptions to having multiple modes of transportation options.)

So, if you loathe waiting in lines; you have young children you’d like to take back to the room for a break some days; or you want to maximize your time in the parks, then the convenience of a Deluxe Resort is for you. The rooms at Deluxe Resorts are going to be larger, between 370-400+ square feet. You can also find some Deluxe Resorts that have Villas with accommodations for up to 12 people with full kitchens.

Other items to consider: These are the resorts that are going to have the more-popular table-service restaurants; the pools are elaborately themed; Club-Level amenities are a room option, allowing you access to the Club Lounge for continental breakfast and snacks and beverages throughout the day, among other benefits. You can now also add “extras” when staying Club-Level as most resorts, which include the ability to add 3 extra FastPasses each day in any category, along with the ability to book those passes 90 days in advance instead of the traditional 60 days and you get VIP seating at one nighttime show for each day you make use of this benefit. It does cost an extra $50 per person per day with a 3-day minimum, but it’s definitely worth it, especially during peak season!

Finding the perfect combination of what I call the “Three Cs” – comfort, cost and convenience – is where I come in!

Think you might be ready to start planning? I’d love to help you and my services are complimentary when you book your Disney stay with me.

Here’s how it works:

  • Some people like to schedule a time for a call so that we can talk about your family and what your vision is for your vacation. I’m available during traditional work hours but I realize that it’s not always easy for my clients to plan a vacation while they are working, so I do make myself available for after-hours calls by appointment.
  • Maybe you prefer to start the process via email? I can do that too! You can shoot me a message here: Email Me!
  • Or, you can click the Start Planning link, give me a few details and I will get the ball rolling by sending you some options that I think might be a good fit for you. From there, we can tweak the plans until we get it just right.

What happens next? Once you’ve chosen the right package for you, there is a refundable $200 deposit to secure your room pricing with Disney, and then I help you with the entire planning process from start to finish at no cost to you! Disney realizes this process is overwhelming, so they compensate me without passing that cost on to you. You don’t have to research a single thing! I’ll help you choose restaurants and make those reservations for you and I’ll do the same when it comes time to select FastPasses (Disney’s “advance ride reservation system;”) I will watch for discounts and get those applied to your reservation as long as there is availability; I’ll help you figure out the best days to go to each park to minimize your time spent in line; I’ll make sure you see of all the “must-do” attractions and rides; I’ll send you a printed itinerary; and I’ll even send you a packing list! I do it ALL! You can relax and focus on making memories with your family!

Want to see what my clients have to say about my services? Check out their reviews Here!

HOW TO CONTACT ALISON: Email achambers@neverlandadventureguides.com, call/text 501.772.3137, send a FaceBook message or REQUEST A NO-OBLIGATION QUOTE: Request a Quote


Best Way to Budget for Disney

Want to know the easiest way to save money for your dream Disney trip? It’s really easy – plan ahead! It’s like a virtual layaway plan!

Let me explain….You can book Disney World trips more than a year in perfect castleadvance. This means that you can make payments, on your own terms, for over a year! All you need to get started is a $200 deposit, which is fully refundable until 30 days from your travel date. And any payments you make toward that trip are refundable as well (with the exception of travel insurance premiums). So you can pay a little each week or once a month – whatever works best for you.

Right now you can book trips through the end of 2018. Sometime this summer, Disney will release bookings through the end of 2019, in case you really want to plan ahead! (And with the coming Star Wars Land set to open in 2019, you just might want to plan really far ahead!)

Another reason planning ahead saves you money – I watch for discounts that will save you money. If you already have a trip booked, I automatically apply that discount to your trip, assuming there is availability, which means you’re first in line on discount release days. And it costs you nothing to use my services when you stay at a Disney resort. Disney knows that planning a trip can be overwhelming so they pay me to assist you without passing that cost on to you. I help you determine which resort, park ticket, dining plan, etc., will work best for your family’s needs.

If a Disney cruise is what you’re planning for – you can book those even further in advance. And Disney rewards cruisers who plan ahead. Disney cruises are priced similarly to hotel rooms – the more full the sailing becomes, the more expensive it is to get a stateroom.

So, what are you waiting for? Bet you didn’t know it could be this easy! All you have to do is contact me – fill out the no-obligation quote request form, email or call me. Whatever works best for you! I promise to make planning your Disney trip simple – all you have to do is pack a bag!

HOW TO CONTACT ALISON: Email achambers@neverlandadventureguides.com, call/text 501.772.3137 or send a FaceBook message! REQUEST A NO-OBLIGATION QUOTE: Request a Quote


Keep Your Cool at Disney in the Summer

The summer heat is about to arrive but don’t let that stop your Disney trip! Chances are that it will be warm where you live too, so why not spend that time making memories at Disney World? Also, if you plan your trip well, you can alternate between rides that have lines outdoors vs. lines that are indoors (and thus air-conditioned!), making the heat much less of an issue! Here are some tips for managing the heat while touring the parks:

°o° Have you heard of Frogg Toggs Chilly Pads? These special towels are great for cooling you down quickly. frostytowelThe towel is made of a special material that, when wet, gets cold but remains dry. Wrap one around your neck and you’re good for a few hours. When it stops cooling, you just re-wet the towel. Disney has its own version of the Chilly Pad, known as Frosty Towels, available for sale in the parks. If you put the towels in a Ziploc bag when they aren’t in use, ask for some free ice from a Quick-Service vendor to keep them cool while you’re on the go, and you’re set!

°o° The most effective way to manage the heat is to arrive at the parks at least 30 minutes before they open, when it is cooler. You will get a ton of touring done before the crowds start rolling in later in the morning. When it starts to get hot and crowded early in the afternoon, head back to your resort for an afternoon break before going back to a park for dinner and nighttime entertainment. This is where staying at a Deluxe Resort, with easier park access, really pays off. (It’s all about price vs. convenience!)

°o° Speaking of going back to your resort, take advantage of the amazing pools available at Disney’s resorts! Most of 19184_428919663930588_280079340358471515_nthe resort pools have a splash pad area and some even have beaches. It’s the ideal way to spend a warm summer afternoon. An alternative to the pool are Disney’s two water parks – Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon.

°o° Disney has lots of areas to cool off built into the parks. Some are subtle, so you might not notice them. For example, the giant Tiki statues near Magic Kingdom’s Jungle Cruise ride is a great place to get a refreshing mist. Other water-play areas exist in the parks, so you might let the kitikigodsds wear swimsuits (as shorts for boys or under a sundress for girls) or throw a change of clothes in your park bag. In the Fantasyland area of Magic Kingdom you will find the Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station, which will definitely get the kiddos wet. A great place to splash around at Epcot is the fountains between Future World and the World Showcase. When you need a break, find a bench while the kids enjoy the water. Pack a dry pair of shorts and undies to change into when they are done. If you arrive unprepared to get wet, no worries – there is a small store right next door to the fountains that sells beach towels, sunscreen, swimsuits and water shoes. Your kids will have a ball!

°o° Of course staying hydrated is going to be super important! Be sure to ask for a free glass of ice water at nearby Quick-Service dining locations.

°o° Be strategic with your touring and you can take advantage of air conditioning while walking around the parks. The stores on Main Street in Magic Kingdom and on Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood Studios are connected. You can walk through the stores and cool off at the same time.

dolewhip°o° And my favorite way to cool off? With a Dole Whip, of course! You can’t go wrong with a Mickey Ice Cream Bar, Dole Whip or other frozen treat!

If you’ve tried all of these tricks and someone is still in meltdown mode, then allow yourself to take a break! A little time in the A/C with your feet propped up will go a long way toward restoring everyone’s happiness!

I’d LOVE to help you plan the perfect trip! HOW TO CONTACT ME: Email me at achambers@neverlandadventureguides.com, call/text me at 501.772.3137or send me a FaceBook message! REQUEST NO-OBLIGATION PRICING: Start Here!


Dreaming about a trip to Disney this fall? Hoping for a great discount?

Free Dining is a super popular discount that Disney has historically offered for travel to the Walt Disney World Resort between late August and mid-December. Because of its popularity, inventory for this discount sells out VERY quickly. While no discount is ever guaranteed, there are ways to get a jump start if a one is released.memories

If you would like to receive pricing if a Free Dining or other discount is announced, click the link below to answer a few quick questions and then I will send you some options if/when a discount is released. In the notes section, please ask for Free Dining notice so I can get you on the right list! Start Here!

If you’ve been thinking about visiting Disney World this fall, now is a great time to start planning, especially if you are interested in dining at some of the more popular Disney restaurants like Be Our Guest or Cinderella’s Royal Table.

Or, if you would like to get ahead of the crowd and book a reservation now (which I really recommend!), give me a shout. I will book a reservation and if your vacation dates qualify, and rooms at your choice of resort are available, I will automatically work to apply any discount that is released. All you need to get your trip booked is a $200 refundable deposit.

* The number of rooms allocated is limited. Length-of-stay and ticket type requirements may apply. Not all resorts or travel dates are included in discount releases.

HOW TO CONTACT ALISON:  Email, call/text at 501.772.3137 or
send a FaceBook message!


Yes! My Services Really are FREE to you! Here’s How (and what I can do for you!)

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas PartySo you see that my services are free to you and you think, “This sounds too good to be true.” But it is true! Using me to book your trip will cost you the exact same price as booking directly through Disney yourself!

See, Disney knows that planning a trip can be overwhelming and researching it can be time-consuming. After all, it’s the size of San Francisco, has about 26 resorts, and if you Google it you’ll find about 182 million entries! Obviously, saving you all this time and effort is in Disney’s best interest, so they pay my commission without increasing the cost to you.

So, what can you expect from me for free? A lot! For starters, I specialize in Disney vacations, which means I go through the College of Disney Knowledge program annually, have yearly training events and on-site visits and have first-hand experience to guide you through the process. Sure, you can ask your friends for advice and get opinions of works best for their family. But I can offer insight specific to your needs and I have planned more than 1,000 trips so I have the knowledge to help you, no matter your situation! Want proof of my value to clients? You can check out what they have to say HERE and HERE!

Additionally, once you book your trip, I watch for any discounts that might reduce the cost of your trip. Should one become available, I am up at the crack of dawn working to get that discount applied to your trip.

Speaking of getting up early, I also am booking your dining reservations the minute your reservation window opens 180 days from your trip. And I help you book your FastPasses (sort of like ride reservations) as soon as possible, 60 days before your travel date.

I also offer advice on the best time to travel; help you select the resort that will best meet your needs; whittle down the list of dining options; navigate the technology that will make your trip planning seamless; answer your questions so you don’t have to do any research; and assist with any last-minute needs. Pretty much all you have to do is pack!

Already booked your Disney trip and wishing you had my help? If you booked with Disney directly within the last 30 days, I can “takeover” that reservation and work with you to create a magical experience at Disney’s expense. If it’s been longer than 30 days since you booked but you still need some guidance, give me a call – I can do itinerary-only planning for a fee.

Ready to start exploring your options? Get started planning by answering a few questions on this form:Start Here or email me at achambers@neverlandadventureguides.com, or give me a call me at 501.772.3137.


Sign Up for the 2019 Waiting List

About this time each year, I have people start asking about when they can book a Disney trip for the following year. I LOVE those early planners! It’s the best way to make your trip affordable because it gives you extra time to make payments. Typically Disney releases packages for the following year at the end of June/early July. Want to get a jump start to your planning? Simply fill out this Form or you can shoot me an email and get ahead of the masses by joining my 2019 Disney Waiting List.

Getting on the list is super easy and has advantages (keep reading!)  If you give me all the necessary information, when the packages are released I will automatically send you some options and we can get started with the planning!

Book as soon as the packages become available with a $200 refundable deposit, then make payments however you like. All payments are refundable until 30 days before your travel date. And if a discount is released for your travel dates, I work tirelessly to get those discounts applied to your reservation, depending on availability.

Once we get your trip booked – then the fun begins! Planning a Disney vacation can be overwhelming – so that’s where I come in. Resort choices, park passes, dining reservations and more, I will help you navigate the maze of options available and take care of even the smallest of details, at no cost to you. That’s right – my services are complimentary when you stay at a Disney resort. And before you leave home, I will send you an itinerary designed especially for your family, with everything you need to make the most of your family’s time together. So what are you waiting for? Get on my 2019 waiting list today!

Just to sweeten the deal a little – if you book your trip with me within 1 week of the packages being released (meaning you have paid your deposit) I’ll enter you into a drawing for a $50 Disney gift card delivered with your travel documents! Can’t get much easier than that!

Call me today at 501.772.3137, email me Here, check out my Facebook page Here


Save Time – Order Online!

At Disney, time is precious, so I hate wasting it standing in line. Disney’s latest enhancement to the My Disney Experience app is going to save you a ton of time!

Last spring, Disney began offering a Mobile Order option at 23 Quick-Service locations, but today they finally made that option available to people who are using the Disney Dining Plan.

I tested the service last fall and it was a HUGE time-saver! It allows you to order meals and snacks on demand, pay in advance using the dining plan or a credit card and skip the line at select quick-service food and beverage locations.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1

STEP 1: Choose “Order Food” under the “My Plans” page in the app and choose your restaurant from the available selections.

 

Step 2

STEP 2: Select your menu options.

 

Step 3

STEP 3: When you arrive at the restaurant, click the “I’m Here, Prepare My Order Button,” and track the status of your order on the screen.

 

Step 5

STEP 4: When the screen says your food is ready, you collect your food at the designated Mobile Order Pickup location.

And that’s all there is to it! It’s really that simple!

Want more information? Click Here and I’ll send you a no-obligation quote!


How May I Help You?

I’m frequently asked by prospective clients to explain exactly what I can do for them, so I thought I would break it down for all of you who might be wondering the same thing.

• I am the beginning of your planning process. We start off with either a phone conversation or with information provided to me via email or text (really, whatever means works best for you) so that I can make recommendations specific to your family’s needs. I email you options at each of Disney’s price points so that you have a starting point and then we tweak those options until we find the perfect combination of dates, resorts, tickets and meal plans for your dream vacation.

• I book your trip for you and monitor for any discounts that might save you money. You don’t have to ask me to see if discounts are available, I work tirelessly to get them applied to your reservation when they are released, subject to availability, as part of my complimentary services to you.

• I book your dining reservations for you. I send you a list of restaurant recommendations to help narrow your choices down so that you don’t have to do any research. Some clients prefer to discuss their dining options, so we make time for a call, while some clients find that it is easiest for me to make their dining selections for them using what I know about their likes and dislikes. And if you book your trip well in advance, it means I am up at 5 a.m. making dining reservations 180 days in advance, the minute the booking window opens, to get the best options available.

• I book your FastPasses for you. And I explain what FastPasses are and the best ways to use them!

• I use all the information I have available to me to keep you from waiting in lines and structure your days so you don’t have to worry about where to go next.

• I create the online account that is the hub for your trip planning. This is where I make all your reservations and eventually where you will be able to see all of the details of your trip.

• I customize your MagicBands for you. And I explain what MagicBands are and how to use them!

• I explain the meal plans available and make sure you maximize its benefits.

• I make your transportation arrangements to and from the airport and make sure you know how to get around Disney World.

• I complete your online check-in, send you printed copies of your itinerary with park-touring tips, a packing list and all the information you need for a perfect vacation. You just pack and go!

• I take care of any extra things you might need. Things such as stroller rental, purchasing party tickets, helping you find a doctor while on your trip, suggesting ways to surprise your kids and more. I’m your advocate if anything goes wrong and you need assistance.

• I’m your single source for information. Have a question? Don’t Google and sort through millions of answers. Just call, text or email me and I’ll answer it for you!

• And sometimes, I save you from yourself. It’s easy to get caught up in everyone’s opinions and what “they” say you must do. And then you start doubting the plans that you have made and question everything, because everyone you ask will have a different opinion! And if you start to look for opinions online, you could be reading all night, creating unnecessary stress for yourself. I help you plan a vacation that is perfect for your family based on your needs. I’ve planned hundreds of trips. I specialize in Disney destinations and Universal Resorts because they are massive entities that are constantly changing and I dedicate my time to staying up-to-date on the latest offerings so that you don’t have to worry with that. This is my full-time job, and I love it!

This list is an overview – it’s definitely not all encompassing. Let me get started customizing your Disney trip! My services really are complimentary when you book your stay at a Disney resort with me. Request a quote by clicking on “Start Here” on this blog page. Or contact me at achambers@neverlandadventureguides.com or 501.772.3137.


Costa Rica – Adventure of a Lifetime!

NOTE: This was written by my 14-year-old daughter Olivia. She wanted to share her perspective on our recent Adventures by Disney trip to Costa Rica. I’ll be writing about our trip soon! For now, enjoy it through her eyes!

Costa Rica with Adventures by Disney was honestly one of the most AMAZING trips I have ever taken! I say this because normally, when you go to a different country, you just stay in a tourist part, but with Adventures by Disney you feel like you are living in the country’s culture. You get to see how other parts of the world live their lives whereas if you stayed in a resort that is “Americanized,” you don’t get the full effect of what the country is about. One thing that you don’t get to have on a regular vacation that you get with Adventures by Disney is that you travel with a group. When my mom told me about the trip, I was really nervous about traveling with people I don’t know. But in the group you get to meet new people and make friends, which just makes the trip so much more fun.DSCN1308

The Trip:
Taking a trip to Costa Rica with Adventures by Disney, you sometimes you have to go outside your comfort zone – such as flying on a small plane (by the way, it scared me so much), but it is worth it! In Costa Rica, all of the jungle is untouched, and we got to take a boat ride through it all. It is absolutely beautiful! We got to see amazing wildlife such as an array of monkeys, a bunch of basilisk lizards, dolphins, a ton of pretty trees and gorgeous flowers. We would not have been able to see all of this if we weren’t traveling with Adventures by Disney. We probably could have seen the rainforest, but not in the same way, where people don’t normally venture.

After we visited the jungle, we traveled to Arenal in Costa Rica. Here we saw an active

DSCN1585

volcano, zip lined, and white water river rafted! Every morning when we woke up, we saw a magnificent view of the volcano. The zip lining was awesome because it was over the rainforest canopy! When you looked down, you saw treetops and I thought I was on top of the world!

The next day we went white water river rafting. This was adventurous because we had up and downs, bounced side to side, and had mDSC_4089any rocks to bump on! While we were river rafting we even saw monkeys playing overhead!

After our adventure in Arenal, we went to another part of Costa Rica. At this stop we were on a beautiful beach! Here we took a catamaran and had a kid’s night! The catamaran was sumptuous! We took a ride out to a snorkeling sight and snorkeled. Since I did not see any exciting fish, I decided to just play in the water and jump off of the catamaran with my new friends. That night the kids had a night to eat dinner and watch a movie while the adults had dinner on their own.

The next day was dismal because we were leaving to go back to reality, but we made the most of it. We had a farewell dinner with all of our new friends and said goodbye. Honestly, I have never felt this sad about leaving a trip. When my family was home, we all wanted to go back. Yes, at first you are very sad about leaving, but when you get to tell other people about the once-in-a-lifetime things you got to see, you start to realize what memories you made, and how you lucky you are to be the one sharing them. I’m excited to start planning our next Adventures by Disney trip!


Summer Room Offer at Disney World Resort

discount

Seeking a new and immersive adventure at Walt Disney World Resort? Be among the first to visit Pandora – The World of Avatar. This jaw-dropping new land is set to open on May 27, 2017, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park.

Stay in the middle of the magic and save up to 25% on rooms at select Disney Resort hotels. Valid for stays most nights from May 28 through August 31, 2017. Book through July 14, 2017.

Ready to plan your trip? My services are complimentary when you book your trip with me. Fill out the form here: https://lendmeyourmouseears.com/quoterequest/   Or you can email me at achambers@smallworldbigfun.com or give me a call at 501.772.3137.

*The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Length-of-stay requirements may apply. Savings are based on the non-discounted price for the same room. Additional per-adult charges may apply if there will be more than two adults per room at Disney Value, Moderate and Deluxe Resorts. Cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion. Advance reservations required. Offer excludes campsites, 3-bedroom villas and is not valid at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort—The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms and Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows. 25% savings for select Disney Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts; lower savings may be available for Value and Moderate Resorts and Moderate and Deluxe Suites.


End the “I Want it Now” Battle!

When I tell people that I’m going to Disney World or Universal Studios or some other fantastic destination for a work trip, they assume that I’m going to be playing in the parks all day. But really, I’m like a super-secret ninja spy scoping out the parks to make sure you have the best possible travel experience.

Seriously, the reality is that I make a point of going to the parks regularly so that I can stay on top of new things happening that might affect the way you tour the parks. You wouldn’t want to use a travel agent who uses Google to answer all of your questions, would you? You want boots-on-the-ground perspective and I aim to give it to you! In addition to staying current on changes, I like to troubleshoot issues I see people having and finding ways to spare my clients the same mishaps.

I like to look for what I call the “breaking points” for people – the areas where families find themselves at the end of their rope, frustrated and ready to call it a day before they’ve really gotten going. One of the biggest breaking points I have found is at the exit of a ride. Theme park designers are marketing geniuses, spilling you off of a ride into a store with merchandise related to the fantastic ride you just enjoyed. Parents and children are arguing over yet another toy their child just has to have. Inevitably, I see parents telling their kids no, leaving the store with a child in tears, questioning why they decided to take a vacation if all their child is going to do is cry over a silly toy.

This is where my “ninja” skills come in. I have a solution for you! Kids like to feel they have control, and they are inundated with things they “must” have. Rather than dread the battle, try giving some freedom to your child, while still calling the shots.

Before you leave home, give your child his own wallet, with his own money in it. The teplushdisplayrms are that you will let him spend this money on whatever he wants. You won’t argue over his choice, even though you know he doesn’t need another stuffed animal. But when that money is gone, it’s gone. There will be no more. The key here is that you have to stick to those terms. If you waiver at all, or enter into negotiations at any time, then this system will not work.

Whatever amount of money you decide to give your child, put it in their wallet in small bills. Children don’t grasp the concept of money well, but they do understand when they have a lot of something and when that starts to dwindle. You can hold on to their wallet for them so that it doesn’t get lost or you can let them have that responsibility.

I have tested this method on my three children, now ages 13, 9 and 8, since each of them was 3 years old and it has never failed me. I have been shocked at how it ended the “can I buy it now” battle and how much money it saved me! It also teaches the life skill of money management. So now your vacation is a valuable learning opportunity as well!

Do you have a question about touring the parks that you’d like to ask me? Let me know! I’ll be going on another one of these work trips in a few weeks – to both Disney World and Universal Studios – and can’t wait to come back with tons of new information and ideas to share!

Want to benefit from more of my expertise? Let me plan your trip!

HOW TO CONTACT ME: Email achambers@smallworldbigfun.com, call/text 501.772.3137 or send a FaceBook message!
Or GET STARTED HERE: Request a Quote


Why You Need a Travel Agent to Book Disney

With the ease of the Internet, you might be wondering why you need to use a travel agent to book a Disney trip. I specialize in all things Disney, so I could give you tons of reasons, but here’s my Top 5:

1. It’s FREE! It would cost you exactly the same to book your trip on your own directly with Disney as it costs to book through me. Disney realizes it can be overwhelming to plan a trip, so they compensate me without passing that charge on to you (so there’s no need to price shop!)

2. I watch for special discounts and work my hardest to get those discounts applied to your vacation, even after you’ve already booked your trip! So using me actually can SAVE you money!

3. I guide you through all of the planning process – I help you figure out which of the 27 resort properties is best for your family and which time of year works best for your needs; I get up at 5 a.m. 180 days before your trip to get you the best dining reservations; I help you plan your park itinerary and FastPasses (Disney’s “ride reservation” system); I make sure you know how to navigate the parks and the technology Disney employs to make your trip as seamless as possible. In a nutshell – I handle it ALL! You just pack and go, and I even give you a packing list!

4. Think of me as your personal “Google” when you have questions! Did you know that if you search “Disney World,” there are 181,000,000 entries? Do you really want to sort through all of that to figure out what information is still relevant when you could just send me an email, text or Facebook message and get a quick, accurate answer?

5. I work for an EarMarked Travel Agency, a designation given by Disney to recognize our extensive knowledge of all things Disney. We are experts in the Disney resorts, restaurants, rides, and more; Disney Cruise Line; Adventures by Disney (guided tours to destinations all over the world); and A’ulani, a Disney resort and spa in Hawaii.

Quite simply, helping plan your dream Disney vacation isn’t a job to me – it’s my passion! Let’s get started! Request a quote here: Request a Quote
Or you can call me at 501.772.3137 or email me at achambers@smallworldbigfun.com. You can also get the latest updates by “liking” my FaceBook page at Alison Murtha Chambers – Small World Big Fun!


Don’t Forget to Remember….

Warning: this one is going to be a little mushy, but I promise it will have a point if you just hang with me. This weekend, I spent 5 hours driving to watch my 13-year-old daughter swim in a big meet. It was her first “team travel” meet, which meant it was my first time to not have a gaggle of girls in the car entertaining me. So I turned to Carrie Underwood. Not my smartest decision.

If you’re not familiar with Carrie Underwood’s “Don’t Forget to Remember Me,” she sings about growing up, moving out and her mother telling her to remember her. So I had an ugly cry. Because it hit me like a freight train that after this year, I only have four more Christmases with her at home. And then she’s off to start life on her own. If you’re not at this stage of life yet, celebrate the little things while you can because it’s coming fast and when it gets here you probably won’t be ready for it, either.

This is the time of year when we reflect on the things we’ve done and we plan for better things ahead. As I look to next year, knowing the next four years are going to fly by way faster than I want them to, I think about all the things we’ve done as a family and all I still want to do with my children. I want to broaden their horizons; to experience other cultures and peoples; and see beauty in far away places. I want to give them memories that they can hold on to for a lifetime instead of things that will eventually be thrown away. But honestly, I really want those memories for myself even more.

So I’m starting a four-year mission of traveling in 2017. I’m making this a priority for my family and we’re starting big with an Adventures by Disney trip to Costa Rica for Spring Break, where we will get to immerse ourselves in the beauty of the country and will get to meet its people, hear their stories and see how others live. We will zip line over the rain forest, sleep at the base of a volcano and go white water rafting. The beauty of this trip is that once we land in Costa Rica, I don’t have to do anything but enjoy my family – Disney handles all of the little details. And I am SO excited about that because I want to drink up every last moment I have with my kids while I can.

Beyond making memories, traveling can do so much more for your kids. Teaching them how to travel – how to use their money wisely, how to navigate unknown places and how to adapt if things don’t go exactly as planned – those are tangible benefits that will serve them well as they move out into this world on their own. And while I’m not ready for that, I want them to be ready for it when the time comes.

If you are finding yourself eager to make memories with your family – whether it’s a trip to Disney World or Disneyland, a cruise to the Caribbean or a trip to a foreign land, I would be honored to help you craft an adventure you can treasure forever. Don’t put it off because you think your little one is too small. She will be grown in the blink of an eye.

memories

HOW TO CONTACT ALISON: Email achambers@smallworldbigfun.com, call/text 501.772.3137 or send a FaceBook message! My services are free when you book your trip with me.
GET STARTED HERE: Request a Quote

If you want to have that ugly cry for yourself, check out Carrie Underwood’s song here: Don’t Forget to Remember Me


“I Survived a Tropical Storm!”

For those who have had the misfortune of traveling with me, they will tell you that where Alison goes, there will be rain. Our most recent trip to Disney World was no exception. BOY! Did it rain!

As my son says, “We survived a Tropical Storm!” And technically, he’s right. Tropical Storm Hermine made landfall to the north of Orlando and we were left to make the best of our vacation in the deluge that preceded and followed the storm.

Here is what Hermine was gracious enough to teach me:

  • Sing and dance with your kids in the rain. Whether the rain ruins your trip depends less on how wet you get and more on how you react to it. Your kids will look to you to decide if the rain is going to ruin their dream trip, so my advice to you? If it’s going to rain, dance your way through and make the best of it. Keep your sense of humor.
  • Scotchgard works! It is common to have an afternoon shower in Florida but when I realized we were looking at more than the typical rain, I started looking for some additional ways to keep dry. We put Scotchgard on our shoes, backpacks, hats, pretty much anything you can put it on. And I was shocked by how well it worked. Think like a Boy Scout and be prepared!
  • Outerwear is your friend! I always recommend taking a poncho and keeping it in a Ziploc bag so you can put it back in your bag after you are finished wearing it without getting everything else wet. But if you know you are likely to have tropical storm-type rain, invest in some high-quality rain gear. It’s worth the investment (and because I know it’s always going to rain since I have to travel with myself, I’m sure to use it again! Chances are you will, too.)
  • Protect your feet. I pack two pairs of shoes for everyone so that if it rains a lot on one day, you’ll have dry shoes the next day. If you have comfortable shoes that can get wet (like Chacos, because you need support), then wear those if you can. Wet feet are more likely to get blisters in tennis shoes. But flip-flops won’t give you enough support. You can also get creative with how you dry your shoes. I stick a hairdryer in each shoe and let that do the work for me. You can also take out the insoles and stuff your shoes with newspaper, which should help them dry overnight.
  • Don’t forget your stroller needs shelter, too! If you don’t have a rain cover for your stroller, consider buying one. If you don’t have one made for your stroller, you can use heavyweight shower curtains and clips to attach it. They are sturdy enough to keep everything dry and can be tied to the stroller if wind becomes an issue. Most of the stroller parking areas are not covered, so you will want something to kimg_7378eep them dry while you are staying dry.
  • Get creative! You know those hand dryers in the bathrooms? You can flip those upside down and you have a great way to dry your hair or clothes!
  • Be flexible. I don’t mean it’s time to start stretching to show off your athletic prowess, I mean be willing to toss the plans you originally had for the day according to the forecast. If you know it’s likely to be raining when you had planned to be taking a break in the room, you should modify that plan so you can take advantage of the driest part of the day. Get to be best friends with your My Disney Experience app and change those FastPasses around. It’ll be OK!
  • GO – into the parks! I know the temptation is to stay in the room and wait it out, but that is exactly what eimg_4043veryone else is doing! Seize the (wet) day! Almost all of the rides and attractions will still be running and you’ll be able to get on and off of them with no wait! A Disney dream come true!
  • Ask Alison. This one may be the most important – be sure to find out when I will be visiting Disney. It might be in your best interest to avoid being there when I am! Seriously, if you book your trip with me and it looks like you might experience a lot of rain, have no fear! I will be sure to send you my extra-special, super-secret list of rain tips not mentioned here.

Have tips of your own? Please share!

HOW TO CONTACT ALISON: Email achambers@smallworldbigfun.com, call/text 501.772.3137 or send a FaceBook message!
GET STARTED HERE:Request a Quote


Sorry Folks! Time is NOT Going to Slow Down

It’s back-to-school time and we are seeing cute first day pictures and comments like “Look at my baby starting high school! Where did the time go?” or “They’re growing up so fast! Time please slow down!” But that’s the thing. Time won’t slow down. We have to make the most of it while we have it. And I don’t know anyone who feels like they have an abundance of time.

In 17 days, my family and some awesome friends get to step into the “bubble” that is Disney. I won’t be looking at the news or watching TV or reading through Facebook because I’m bored. I’ll be soaking up time with my loved ones. Precious time, creating memories not just for them but also just as much for me. Because those little people will eventually grow up to have their own families and I’m going to cherish these memories of time spent together.PicMonkey Collage

You hear a lot about Disney “magic,” and everyone will have his own definition of what that is. For me, Disney provides the perfect setting to block out the sadness and anger in our world today and focus on laughing and seeing things through the lens of my kids. Disney vacations are unique because there are very few places where you have the ability to bridge the gap in ages in your family. Do you have a teenager and a toddler and want to have the grandparents on vacation, too? You can all have a great time without needing to bring a friend along to entertain the teenager or worrying about keeping everyone happy. You can all have fun together. PicMonkey Collage2

And that’s why you NEED a Disney trip pronto! Our world is so deeply divided right now and day after day our Facebook newsfeeds are full of sadness, anger and hate. We need a break from the madness. And because no matter how badly we beg for it, time isn’t going to stop. So take advantage of it while you can!

Let me save you TIME by planning your trip, at no cost to you when you stay on Disney property! Great discounts for the Fall were just released this week!

HOW TO CONTACT ALISON: Email achambers@smallworldbigfun.com, call/text 501.772.3137 or send a FaceBook message!
GET STARTED HERE: Request a Quote