Our September Surprise

I am so excited to have a big surprise for my four year old: we are taking a transatlantic Disney Cruise in September from Barcelona to Miami and we have NOT SAID A WORD.

In the past, we have done countdowns. Day by day, our little guy, Jack, counts each day with a level of excitement that cannot be contained. He's just bursting with energy and wants to tell the world when his next Disney cruise is happening.

Until this time.

We're keeping it all under wraps. He knows nothing.

We also had it planned for over a year and a half.

What I plan on doing is telling him the night before we fly to Barcelona that we're going on vacation.

I'm going to use this blog to journal that adventure.

Right now, we just have this:

I'm hoping this will be a way to score some "Awesome Mom" points that I can use later -when he's a teenager and thinks I'm lame! ;)

Have you ever surprised anyone with a vacation? This is my very first time, so I am very open to hearing and sharing ideas of what to do to make this extra special!

Sample Disney Cruise Line Offers

If you've ever wondered what a Disney Cruise Line vacation might cost, well, here you go! I've put together samples for you to take a look.*

If you'd like a personalized, no-obligation quote, please send me a request HERE.

3-Night Bahamian Cruise (Port Canaveral, Florida) from $169* per person, per night Based on Disney Magic Category 9C Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom
double occupancy Cruise fare for two Guests $1,014* Taxes, Fees, and Port Expenses of approximately $68 per person not included For 03/03/2016 sailing aboard

4-Night Bahamian Cruise (Port Canaveral, Florida) from $234* per person, per night Based on double occupancy Cruise fare for two Guests $1,872* Taxes, Fees, and Port Expenses of approximately $70 per person not included For 11/14/2016 sailing aboard Disney Dream Category 5A Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah

4-Night Bahamian Cruise (Miami, Florida) from $169* per person, per night Based on double occupancy Cruise fare for two Guests $1,352* Taxes, Fees, and Port Expenses of approximately $104 per person not included For 01/20/2016 sailing aboard Disney Magic Category 9C Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom

**5-Night Western Caribbean Cruise (Miami, Florida) from $163* per person, per night Based on double occupancy Cruise fare for two Guests $1,630* Taxes, Fees, and Port Expenses of approximately $102 per person not included For 11/29/2015 sailing aboard Disney Magic Category 9C Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom

**7-Night Western Caribbean Cruise (Port Canaveral, Florida) from $243* per person, per night Based on double occupancy Cruise fare for two Guests $3,402* Taxes, Fees, and Port Expenses of approximately $102 per person not included For 12/12/2015 sailing aboard Disney Fantasy Category 5A Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah 

7-Night Norwegian Fjords Cruise (Copenhagen, Denmark) from $251* per person, per night Based on double occupancy Cruise fare for two Guests $3,514* Taxes, Fees, and Port Expenses of approximately $95 per person not included For 06/29/2016 sailing aboard Disney Magic Category 11B Standard Inside Stateroom

7-Night Western Caribbean Cruise (Port Canaveral, Florida) from $266* per person, per night Based on double occupancy Cruise fare for two Guests $3,724* Taxes, Fees, and Port Expenses of approximately $121 per person not included For 04/30/2016 sailing aboard Disney Fantasy Category 5A Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah

If you'd like a personalized, no-obligation quote, please send me a request HERE.

*Rates in U.S. dollars and valid through July 31, 2015. Offer is subject to availability. Other restrictions may apply. All amounts subject to change. Gratuities and excursions are not included. See Disney Cruise Line website for applicable Terms and Conditions.

Magical Family Savings

You can save up to 25% on rooms at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels this fall! 
For stays most nights October 4 – December 23, 2015

With seasonal events – Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival to Holidays at Walt Disney World Resort – it’s a great time of year to visit! And, when you stay at a Disney Resort hotel, you’ll be right in the middle of the magic.

The number of rooms available for this offer is limited. Book today for the best availability!

Contact me today for more info:
Office: (212) 684-6566
Online Booking Form

Surprise Selfies!

Just to be silly, I thought I would share one of my favorite selfie moments while on board the Disney Magic last year.

For fun, I took my phone and ran up to Pirate Stitch and asked, "How about a surprise selfie?"!

It was always fun and I think the characters liked it, too.
On our next trip, I fully plan on doing the"Surprise Selfies" again.

This time, I will do so from the day of embarkation and get as many as possible!

Have you ever done an interesting photo with a character? Who's your favorite?

5 Things I Learned While Traveling to Disney with a Little One

As a mom, there are things that you know -other things, you learn along the way. A little bit of knowledge meets experience type of thing.

Then, there are the things that you WISHED someone would have shared with you long before you had that, "Oh geez! Why didn't I think of that?!" moment.

When I first took our son, Jack, to Disney World, he was barely two years old. I wasn't really prepared for anything other than making sure we had the stroller, plenty of snacks and his regular gear in his diaper bag. I remembered a change of clothes, the sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bottled water, sippy cup and all the basics were covered.

What I wished I knew ahead of time:

1.  The sea of strollers outside the rides make it a bit of an enigma to find your own when you emerge from the ride or attraction. Searching for your specific stroller can be a big undertaking at times - so have SOMETHING on yours to differentiate it from all the others! Now, since we were already IN the park when we made this discovery, we bought a miniature Goofy plush keychain with his bright green hat to hang off the side. It's now 2 years later and it still hangs on our son's stroller and helps us identify our property so much easier. Save yourself a little money and get something like this before leaving for vacation. It's such a simple thing to do, yet makes a world of difference.

2.  Avoid the "not enough storage" message you'll get when there is no longer any room for pictures on your phone. Don't forget to clean out your smartphone before leaving on vacation, so you will have more room to save those precious memories! This could also mean deleting any unnecessary apps and downloading/saving all of your photos and videos to your computer or other storage device prior to leaving on your trip.

3.  Have everyone in your party wear BRIGHT COLORS! I made the mistake of not telling my husband to wear his orange or green shirt one day at the parks and I was frustrated by noon! When there are large crowds, having something that is easily recognizable is just smart. With my husband wearing grey, he blended into everything. Talk about raging mad! I could NOT find my husband and he had his phone on mute...! It was not a fun time until I found him! You're on holiday so brighten up that wardrobe! Save the drab for home!

4.  Buy souvenirs ahead of time -and by all means, do NOT over-pack. If you're traveling with a young child, you're already packing for every scenario. It's way too easy to get overwhelmed. Don't. At Hi Ho Vacations, we provide clients with a quick packing list. It's a bit of a "Disney Hack" list -but it's terrific!

5.  And honestly, I wish I knew what a travel agent was, how he/she could monitor my reservation FOR me and give me all these tips and so much more. It's a big part of why I wanted to become a Disney vacation planner: I REALLY UNDERSTAND it. I've been to Disney without the help and it's a heck of a lot harder! I want you and your family to have FUN. Enjoy everything that Disney has to offer.

We have the inside scoop, we work with vendors who give us deals on rentals and other lesser-known items on the cruises and at the parks. Plus, our services at Hi Ho Vacations are 100% free. If you're interested in knowing more, contact me or fill out a free, no-obligation quote form for the resorts or Disney Cruise Line.

If you have any other "Disney Hacks" to add to the list, please let me know!

Saving Money on Disney Cruise Line

Quick list about how to SAVE on Disney Cruise Line (DCL):

  • Book early - Do NOT wait!
  • Book your next cruise while on board and get 10% off prevailing rates (on most sailings, there are exceptions, so check to see that your cruise has the discount)
  • Reduced deposit when on board PLUS DCL OBC and if you use a travel agent (like me!) then you also get additional OBCs
  • If you don't know which cruise you want, use the $200 placeholder option.
  • Always use an Authorized Disney Vacation Planning Service - if you're cruising the first time or if you're on board, be sure to list Victoria Prather at Hi Ho Vacations as your agent and agency!
  • You can also transfer a booking to me if you've booked in 30 days or less -and I'll help you with your reservation.

Most people don't know that the EARLIER you book a vacation -especially a Disney vacation - the MORE you could save.

It's also a good guide to use a school calendar for knowing when the "high" and "low" seasons are going to take place at the parks or on the cruises. This information can also help guide you in knowing when the more affordable rates might be occurring.

For example, my upcoming transatlantic crossing with Disney Cruise Line is this September. My son is only 4 years old, so we kind of have the luxury of not worrying about school obligations and attendance mandates, (Yes, I know! That is a big plus!) We also booked this cruise while on board in May of 2014; we booked for September 2015 - when the rates were JUST released.

Plus, we are taking a longer, 11-night cruise for 4 people with a category 4B stateroom - that's a Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom with Private Verandah (on Deck 8, FWD) - and it is costing under $4,000 for ALL four of us!

That's ELEVEN nights!! Plus, I have $250 of ON BOARD CREDIT.

How did I do it?
I booked ON BOARD, I booked early while also on a cruise AND I used a travel agent. That simple. Yes, I used a travel agent before I became a travel agent with Hi Ho Vacations!

If you want to know how I can save you money NOW and get you on board credit for your first or next Disney Cruise, click HERE. Fill out the form and I'll get back to you with FREE, no-obligation quotes. You can also call (212) 684-6566 or email me.

The best deal is to book NOW for 2016. Remember: Don't wait. Prices of cruises can change from day-to-day.

And, I love helping families enjoy vacations with Disney as much as I do AND save you money along the way. It's why I do what I do!

For more information direct from DCL, see FAQs about reservations.

Planning and Paying for the Disney Dream

In a recent chat with a client, she asked me the following questions about financing a Disney

vacation. As my client said, "Wow! This is GREAT information! I had no idea...you need to get this out there!" So, here it is - frequently asked questions about how to afford a Disney Vacation:

"I want to do a Disney vacation, but I just don't have a lot of money upfront [now] to put towards a future trip."
You don't have to pay for your vacation all at one time if you're booking in advance. There is a deposit to put down, but then you can make payments on your own schedule until the payment in full is due - that depends on the type of package you've arranged and if it's a resort or with Disney Cruise Line.

"If I don't pay for my vacation all at once, will there be finance or interest charges?"
No, not through Disney. Obviously, if you put a payment on your own personal credit card, you're bound by the agreements with your card; it all depends on your method of payment.  Disney allows Guests to pay just a deposit for trips that are booked in advance and you can pay over time on your own schedule. If you request a free, no-obligation quote, I can send you the details at that time. It all depends on when you book and for what resort or if it is for Disney Cruise Line.

"I've heard of ways to save up for a Disney Vacation - what do you know about that?"
There is a no-fee Disney Vacation Savings Plan that a lot of people have signed up to do. I recommend clients to take a look for themselves to see if it fits their family's needs: https://disneyvacationaccount.disney.go.com/set-up-vacation-account/
What's most appealing to that plan is how you'll be eligible for a $20 Disney Gift Card for every $1000 you spend on qualified vacation purchases with your Disney Vacation Account prior to December 31, 2017 (date subject to extension), up to a total $500 in Disney Gift Card(s) per household. Check their link for the specifics.

"Do you know anywhere else can I save?"
There is a Disney Visa card that also has special perks available - zero percent financing (terms and conditions apply) and other members only advantages that would be worth looking into https://disneyrewards.com/vacation-perks/
And while I have not done it myself, there are Disney Gift Cards that vacationers like to purchase  discounted gift cards on websites such as Raise.com and/or eBay. Some grocery stores sell Disney gift cards as well. These gift cards offer savings from 5% - 10% on average. I'd recommend a Google search for the latest deals on them -as you can also use these to pay for your Disney vacation.

"Great tips for saving, but don't you charge a fee?"
Absolutely NOT! My services as a travel agent for an authorized Disney Vacation Planning Service are completely, 100% free. I give you personalized service and know how and where to look for the best deals, apply promotions and make your dreams come true! Each Disney Vacation is different; there are thousands of ways to experience Disney. I take the time to listen to your hopes and Disney dreams and then customize a plan with premium tips and tricks tailored to your family! 

I can be reached via email or phone (212) 684-6566. Live chat is also available on this page; if I am in the office, you'll see the contact me button on the lower left corner of this webpage. I also have the online quote requests - resorts or cruises.  

Have a magical day!


Candlelight Processional: The Holidays at Epcot

Epcot during the holidays is a sight not to be missed - especially the Candlelight Processional.

Guests experience holiday magic at this seasonal showcase for all ages at America Gardens Theatre.

Each year, the Candlelight Processional makes its way to Epcot, where the rich sounds of the full orchestra and choir fill the theatre, and a special guest narrator takes the stage.

In the wintertime, Holidays Around The World transforms Epcot into an international celebration of Yuletide traditions filled with festive decorations and live entertainment. A special event that’s part of the festivities, the processional is a wonderful way to share the magic of the season with your family and friends! For many Guests, the processional has become an essential family tradition.
This spectacle is held on select nights and, due to its popularity, often fills up quickly. Unless you have purchased a Candlelight Dinner Package*, attendance is on a first-come, first-served basis. All entertainment and celebrity narrators are subject to change. Here is a list of restaurants that participate:

*Please note that Candlelight Processional Dining Packages do not include park admission.

Disney Summer Vacation Planning

People seem to think that a travel agent is a luxury! How nice it must be to have someone else do all the detailed planning work and get everything organized for them, right?!

However, I look at it differently... How can you afford NOT to have the luxury of a specialized Disney travel agent?

I provide insider tips, personalized service and work fully for YOU and your benefit.

Plus, I allow you to enjoy your summer and take the stress out of your Disney vacation planning for you with NO FEES, and absolutely NO CHARGE TO YOU.

All new clients can also take full advantage of not only my limited time gift card offer with resort packages, and with Disney Cruise Line, receive up to $800 on board credits (OBC) for new bookings.*

If you want to know about the best deals or learn insider Disney tips, I'm a luxury you should not be without!  And you're not going to pay for my services! Not at all!

Click HERE to contact me and start living the life of luxury...!

*Right now, through the month of August 2015, Victoria is offering a $25 DISNEY Gift Card to all new clients who book Disney Cruise Line, Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort stays (3 nights or longer + park tickets), Aulani Resort and Spa, or any Adventures by Disney and travel on or before December 31, 2015! This is a limited time offer!

When Should I Plan a Vacation?

When is the best time to book?

When it is best for you, of course!

I'm ready to help you plan your next Disney adventure, but I want to tell you something you probably already know: If you book when the rates are just released, you're more likely to save. If you also book when most kids are in school (in the USA), you'll also find better pricing.

One BIG advantage to using a travel agent that is an Authorized Disney Vacation Planning service provider: We will CONTINUOUSLY MONITOR YOUR RESERVATION for any available discounts that could be applied after you've booked your holiday! That means you don't have to think about when new rates will be released or how that would affect your travel plans. I'll do that for you! No additional cost, no additional worry.

I'm also able to offer ALL NEW clients a $25 Disney Gift Card with their resort package bookings made prior to August 31st, 2015 with travel dates on or before December 31st, 2015. That deal applies to ALL Disney Cruise Line bookings and guests can also receive up to $850 On Board Credit (OBC), too!

So Hi Ho! Here you go! Let's get on our mouse ears and plan some magic!

To request a free, no-obligation Disney Resort Package quote, click HERE

To request a free, no-obligation Disney Cruise Line quote, click HERE