Day 1:  De-Stress, Just Enjoy Being Home

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Up until a week ago, I was supposed to be traveling tonight to Walt Disney World, but once again I found my sucked into the Twilight Zone with the floor dropping out from under me.  Instead of ending up with another anxiety attack over it, I gave myself one more Disney day and really treat myself because it is well deserved and VERY earned!

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Today is about de-stressing and being home, but still within the  perimeters of new experiences…

Plans for today include:

  1. Breakfast at Be Our Guest (I hear they now mimosa’s)
  2. Massage at Senses in the Grand Floridian

-I might end up at All Star Pool, hotel room for a nap. or Food & Wine in the afternoon.  All of these options are on the table.

  1. Dessert Party and VIP Seating for Fantasmic!

-Afterwards, the night is still relatively young in terms of Disney time so I might go to Disney Springs or enjoy All Stars at night.   

Remember that I am doing a full out social media blitz this week to make you part of my “working vacation.” Content will be different on each site to make it fresh, so you will want to follow me on…

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I am also going to be giving everyone* following along and interacting, a chance to win up to $200 in a Disney Vacation Credit* as well as a few daily giveaways as a thank you for being a part of my “working vacation.”  The more you interact, the better chance you have to win.

“Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho It’s Off to Work I GO” Contest Rules & Details

There is so much magic waiting for me that I need to get going, I will C U real soon and remember that life is always better when you are wearing ears.

I’m Done Adulting…I’m Going to Disney

If you were to ask me what my favorite ride in Disney Hollywood Studios is, hands down I would say Tower of Terror.  But…

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The last few months I have felt like I have been living in the Twilight Zone.  My life and emotions have been very similar to that of the Tower of Terror thanks to the constant changes in my job.  Just when it seems to get close to normal, the floor drops out from below me…

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I am DONE ADULTING!  To quote my favorite Disney bear, Koda, I want to “tell everybody” that I am on my way home to the most magical place on Earth for my annual Heigh-Ho trip.  What you don’t speak Disney? (We will have to fix that.)

Translation:  Tonight, as soon as I finish my day job, I will be traveling to Walt Disney World for my annual working vacation as an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.  

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I just love telling people that I “HAVE TO GO” to Walt Disney World, it’s a tough job. My working vacation is all about you, my Disney Travel clients. It is during this trip, that I  try to pack in as many NEW EXPERIENCES as I can to make your trip more magical. No matter how many times I go to Walt Disney World, I always seem to have a long list of NEW experiences.  Walt Disney World is constantly changing, growing, expanding, updating, and refurbishing so it is very easy to create a list of things that I have not experienced. In fact, a whole new land opened in June that I have yet to explore .    

I want to invite you to come along on this working vacation through the power of social media.  We will be “whistling while we work” as I am planning a full out social media blitz this week, with different content across all of these 4 sites…  

ta social page

I am also going to be giving everyone* following along and interacting, a chance to win up to a $200 in a Disney Vacation Credit* as well as a few daily giveaways as a thank you for being a part of my “working vacation.”  

For complete rules and details…

Heigh-Ho Contest: Details & Rules

Get ready by following me on each of my social media platforms and then be on the lookout starting about 6 pm CST as we officially punch the time card…

I will C U real soon and remember that life is always better when you are wearing ears!

Friday Fives: 5 Things Disney that I loved in 2017

Yep, this is going to be another one of those ends of the year reflection posts that are so prevalent as we look forward to flipping that calendar to a fresh New Year.

I did not expect 2017 to be a year full of Disney, put some how it just happened that way (not that I am complaining or anything). So, humor me while I look back at 5 Things Disney that I loved in 2017…

1.  Neon Lighting at Carsland

Nothing was more special in 2017 then  then getting to see my boys faces as they explored Carsland, and that includes Mr. Grumpy.  The movie CARS has been a part of our lives for over 10 years when #monsterchild fell in love with Lightning McQueen, after all he is Lightnings #1 Fan still to this day as a near teenager.  Grumpy however, has been a fan of cars all his life and the whole pit crew of CARS has allowed him to really bond with our boys.  Watching the neon light up was amazing for all of us and one of those special moments that will last forever.

 

2. Going Solo to Walt Disney World

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Don’t get me wrong, I do love my family and girl’s trips to Walt Disney World, but there was something totally freeing about going solo. I had so much fun bouncing around and doing whatever caught my attention. For the introvert in me, that time alone was precious, although secretly there was times when I wish I was sharing the magic with someone else.

3. Lunch at Satu’li Canteen

Are you tired of hearing about this place and this meal? Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think my high expectations for this meal adventure would be met let alone be exceeded. I am already dreaming of my next bites, now only if I could be there when they serve that adult oatmeal!

4. Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters

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I don’t know what is it is about this attraction, but honestly if there was not a crazy long wait it would become just like the People Mover for me at Walt Disney World, one that I would ride over and over again. The music and the spinning makes me happy, and oh at night under the lights, takes me back in a weird sort of way to the dance scene in Roman Holiday and the time we spent as a family in Italy…yep, in the happiest place on earth when I am dancing with Lugi and his cousins from Carsoli.

5. Sharing the Magic

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This same time last year, I was earning my “ears” to become an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner as an affiliate with Academy Travel. Since then I have gone on to share the Disney magic with 10 families in my first year and have many more counting down the magic in 2018.  I have loved every stressful moment trying to make sure they have the most magical vacation ever and enjoyed being a part of their trips. 

It was certainly a great Disney 2017!  Just like 2017, 2018 is starting off with no definite Disney trip plans for myself but you never know where I might end up.  I do know that I will be sharing my love with more families as they go one their own magical trips and with you.  Thanks for following along, and I hope to see in you 2018.

Saturday Saving 4 Disney:  Let the Penny Making Begin Again

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There is no way around it, a Disney trip is expensive. At this moment, I am not certain when my next Disney trip will be, but that is not holding me back from earning few pennies through what I like to call my “Disney Penny” apps that I use to earn my Disney money while I am shopping, and yes even sleeping.  

Here is what you need to know about Disney Penny Apps

I call them penny apps, because basically you are earning pennies but over the course of time pennies add up to dollars.  In reality, you are really “points” which you turn into gift cards to popular stores. I earn Walmart/Sam’s Cards which I then turn around and use to purchase Disney Gift Cards at a discounted rate at Sam’s, saving even more money for Disney.  Making Disney Pennies does take time and effort, but can be seamlessly worked into your daily schedule or shopping routine without much disruption.  Like anything in life, you only get out what you put into things.  I refuse to spend money to make money, so unless it’s product that I am going to use, then I do not buy it just for the sake of earning “points”.  Dealing with cancelling memberships and paying attention to rules is too much work for me, so you will not see me purchasing monthly membership trials either. Identity theft is real and very rarely will I ever link a credit card to my app accounts.  

Those are my ground rules for Disney Penny apps, so which ones do I use…

While I use quite a few different app/websites the ones that make the most for me are

  • ShopKick
  • SwagBucks
  • Ibotta
  • Walmart Savings Catcher

These apps/websites, in addition to my Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Card and picking up a few side jobs I have been able to pay almost the entire cost of my Disney trips without ever having to dip into my household budget, since the majority of my trips are selfish ones where I am going with my runDisney girlfriends.  

Let me show you an example with my 2016 Wine & Dine Trip:

The total cost of the trip was $2765 and I paid $0 out of my household budget, in fact I came home with almost $400 to roll over to my next Disney trip.

Beach Club DVC Rental $616

  • Actual Cost Out of Pocket $0

I had already saved this from a side tutoring job that I had done in the fall of 2015 so that I could book the Beach Club at the 11 month mark.

Southwest Plane Ticket $397

  • Actual Cost Out of Pocket $0

Purchased with my SW Rapid Rewards Visa card, thanks to putting my DD college tution each month and then paying it off from savings.

Wine & Dine 2016 2-Course Challenge Registration, plus 5K $352

  • Actual Cost Out of Pocket $0

Purchased by writing a couple extra professional development sessions for my school district during the spring of 2016 and then presenting them in the summer.

But here is where my Disney Penny Apps came into play…

Expenses   $1400

  • Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party $91
  • 6 Day Park Ticket $378
  • Food & Spending for 7 Days ($125 a day) $900
  • Actual Cost Out of Pocket $0

Earned through Disney Penny Apps

  • Swagbucks $700
  • Walmart Savings Catcher $82
  • ShopKicks $100
  • PerkTV $175
  • Ibotta $275
  • Check Out51 $15
  • PACT $70

I was totally stunned that I was able to make over $1400 simply by putting my insomnia (thanks to a condition called Restless Leg Syndrome) to work and learning a to use a few apps while doing what I am already doing, shopping in the span of 11 months.

Over the next several weeks/months I am going to show you how you too can earn a few Disney pennies by putting your computer and smartphone to work for you.

 

Tammie’s Take Thursday: Why I Keep Going “Home”

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When I was planning my family’s first vacation to Walt Disney World, I planned like it was a “Once in a Lifetime Trip,” never expecting to return.  Now with my 7th trip about to take place I am met with “that look”…

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You know the one that often includes eye rolls and a moment of sure disgust or maybe confusion and is often followed by a heavy sigh and some opinion or comment that I fail to acknowledge, because after all I am going “Home” to that happy/magical place. 

Sometimes, however, I do feel the need to reply…

home

Disney is the happiest/most magical place on Earth because when on vacation everyday life and troubles often melt away and disappear for the time being.  I love being in the “Disney Bubble,” that mysterious invisible barrier that surrounds Disney and prevents the not so fun parts of real life to pass through (cooking, paying bills, running from here to there, you know just being an adult/parent in general).  Inside of that “bubble” Disney magic takes ahold of me and I escape.

Being able to spend time with family at Disney was Walt Disney’s inspiration for Disneyland.  A Disney vacation is time for us to make happy memories from all the smiles and laughter that is taking place.  While we might not all agree that a Dole Whip is the best treat ever, we can agree to just have fun and enjoy ourselves.  Girl’s trips to Disney are amazing, especially with a few of closest friends who just happen to love Disney as much as I do come along.  We get to be girl’s instead of mom’s…being silly, pampering ourselves, doing what we want so that when we return home we are recharged and ready to tackle being a mom again.  It’s also a place that I look forward to taking a couples only trip to with my non-Disney loving Mr. Grumpy, a chance for us to reconnect via Disney magic.  

There is absolutely no one way to experience Disney.  It’s not all about the character and rides, don’t get me wrong I love them, but for me it is about the TOTAL experience that Disney has to offer in a vacation.  For me I love the runDisney events, Mickey’s parties, the ever changing dining that allows me bring out my foodie side, and the immersive atmosphere that draws me into the story that is being told.  For others it’s the shopping or great live stage shows.  With the sheer size of Disney along with seasonal events, continuous updating of beloved attractions and new additions I never feel like I’ve done or see everything.  There is always something more I want do experience that justifies another trip.   

So when people make the comment, “Oh, you’re going to Disney…again?” I say “Yep, I sure am and I can’t wait.”

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Tammie’s Take Thursday:  When is the Best Time to take a Disney Vacation?

When is the best time to go to Walt Disney World?  ANYTIMEPhoto1077FourBySix

Of course, this is just my opinion because a lot of blogs and websites will direct you to crowd calendars and will tell you that your number one factor should be crowd levels.  For me, I don’t worry so much about crowd levels because I am a firm believer that all crowds at WDW can be tamed by arriving at the parks prior to “rope drop,” going in with a plan of attack and knowing your limits.  Instead, I base my vacations on three factors…my personal schedule, what experiences are available throughout the year at Walt Disney World and what I want to get out of this trip.

I first look at my own personal schedule to see what works for me personally.  Being in education, I am not an advocate of taking children older than 3rd grade out of school for extended periods of time but I also know that every situation is unique and different.  Someday I will tackle the “Should I Take my Child out of School to go to Disney” debate on this blog.

Next, I look at what experiences are available throughout the year and what I want to get from the trip. Let’s look at special events throughout the year that make each trip special and unique…

  • January-New Year’s Celebrations, Christmas decorations still up throughout the first week of January, Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, Epcot International Festival of the Arts
  • February-Princess Half Marathon Weekend
  • March-Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival
  • April- Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival, Easter Celebrations. Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend
  • July-4th of July Celebrations
  • September-Fall Decorations, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival, Night of Joy Concert Series
  • October- Fall Decorations, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival
  • November-Fall & Christmas Decorations, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival, Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend
  • December- Christmas Decorations, Candlelight Processional in Epcot, Christmas Around the World in Epcot and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

2013-10-03 23.46.25 (3)So, when is my favorite time to go to Walt Disney World? I absolutely love traveling the end of October/beginning of November for several reasons. First, the weather is a pleasant mid 80s cool enough to enjoy the parks and the resort pool. It is absolutely beautiful during this time of the year.  You get to experience the best of both the Fall and Christmas Seasons.  If you time it just right you can attend the last of the Mickey’s No So Scary Halloween parties and the Fall decorations, then watch the magical transformation to the Christmas season and see the snow fall on Main Street during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.  In addition, that means runDIsney’s Wine & Dine Photo1026FourBySixHalf Marathon Weekend will be taking place along with Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival.  So many fun things to see and do! Also, crowd levels are generally moderate in size this time of the year, which makes dining and FastPass+ reservations easier to make, plus easier to handle during the day in the parks.

In the end, you must decide what works best for you and your travel party, because there is no wrong time to take a trip to the most “Magical Place on Earth.”

What are you waiting for? I can help you pick the perfect time for your travel party and then assist you in your planning needs.