There is no magic, like Disney magic. Do you agree?
Well, actually there is. There is no magic like luxury Disney magic. The first couple of times we visited DisneyWorld, we tried doing the budget-friendly vacation. We stayed in cheap hotels, ate in buffet restaurants close to our cheap hotel, and it was all a waste of money for what we got.
Was there still Disney magic involved? Yes, of course, but the more we have tried visiting DisneyWorld on a budget, the better we know now: the only way to go to DisneyWorld is when you don’t have to count every penny, and you can splurge on what’s the best at the parks. (Sure, then with the same money you could take your family for an adventure in Europe, Asia or South America… but don’t you remember YOUR childhood memories of the amusement park trips with your parents?)
Yes, our kids have traveled extensively outside North America as well, but they still get excited about Disney travel. We are heading back to DisneyWorld this week, and this time staying at the Disney Yacht Club resort. Make sure to follow our trip on Instagram as Skimbaco. Keep reading why Disney offers you luxury that is hard to beat in other family-focused travels – and Disney travel is way more than amusement parks!
Pictured: cocktails being poured on in a Disney’s adults only restaurant, Remy, onboard Disney Dream. Yes, Disney offers luxury travel experiences for adults too.
Disney takes you around the world.
Disney Travel is so much more than an amusement park experience. Many people think of amusement parks, rides and Disney characters when thinking of Disney travel. But did you know that Disney offers a completely separate Adventures by Disney travel service? You can travel around the world with Disney and rest assured that you’ll only see the best of each destination. Disney makes sure they vet the greatest places to see, eat, and explore. If the Disney approves it, it’s going to be good!
My dream trip with the kids would be the Europe river cruise during the Holiday season and visiting several Christmas markets during the trip.
You can visit Norway, and see what the beautiful scenery in Frozen looks like in real life, or visit Germany and tour the “real” Cinderella castle in Bavaria with a local guide, or gain access other to behind the scenes experiences never deemed possible without Disney. That’s right — if you have ever wanted to visit far away places, but sort of been overwhelmed on planning the trip — Disney takes you there.
Of course… You can also visit different Disney theme parks all around the world, or you can just travel around the world at Epcot, all in one day, and even then you will realize that even all amusement parks are not about rides.
This picture is from Morocco from Epcot, and I’ve always loved visiting Morocco part of the park, somehow it has felt very authentic to me. Maybe because I had never been to Morocco, and the Epcot version of the country sort of felt how I wanted Morocco to feel. Now when I have been to Morocco, I can’t wait to see the Epcot version again. I took this picture in 2011 from our trip to DisneyWorld.
Imagine my surprise that now in 2016 I am going through my pictures from Disney trips, and the above picture from Epcot reminds me a lot of a picture that I took from my trip to Morocco…. The picture below. Can you now see the attention to the detail Disney has?
Disney’s best customer service on earth.
When it comes to Disney, they take customer service to new heights. Their attention to detail is impressive. When my family and I were on our first Disney cruise, the waiter addressed our girls as Princess, and cut their steaks (so I didn’t have to). Next day he remembered everyone’s drink orders, and when I ordered “nothing” for desert, I received a plate that had the word “nothing” written on it in chocolate.
As a mom – these tiny little details matter to me more as a luxury customer service than what the doorman at the hotel ever has. In many luxury hotels the customer service has still been focused on us parents, but Disney gets that the best way to get me to spend money is to give the best luxury experience for my kids.
They’ve even mastered luxury cruising.
Disney Cruise Line will whisk you to the Bahamas to explore Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay (The island is divided into three sections, one for adults, one for teens, and one for kids!), or to visit ports in the Caribbean, Europe, or Alaska.
Can you believe that we visited Halifax, Nova Scotia, the first time while cruising with Disney? Kids and I loved Halifax so much that we always kept telling Matt we need to go back. A few years later… he made our dreams come true and we moved to Halifax. On our Disney Cruise to Canada’s East Coast, we also had afternoon tea with Alice in Wonderland in St. Andrews by the Sea in New Brunswick. We loved the town so much that we spent Christmas 2015 there. Disney cruises truly offer a great way to get a quick look at different ports where you want to return back on your own for longer trips – or even to live in, like we did.
What I love about the Disney Cruise Line is that they always add new ports and they change a little bit each year. You can take several cruises, sometimes even with your favorite ship — and visit different destinations.
Some of 2016 Disney Cruise line highlights:
Canada – New England – yes, you can take the same 5-day amazing cruise we did a few years ago through East Coast and come and visit us in Halifax as one of the stops.
Incredible cruises in Europe, including fjords in Norway or a 7-day cruise with Baltic capitals — I HIGHLY recommend this one, some of my FAVORITE cities of the whole world are part of this 7-day cruise (Stockholm, Sweden, Tallinn, Estonia, St. Petersburg, Russia, Copenhagen, Denmark, and my old home town: Helsinki, Finland).
Western Caribbean start with 3-day cruises, great first experience for those who are not used to cruising yet.
Disney offers the old-world luxury cruising experience without being stuffy and being child-friendly without being overly “only for the kids.” I think Disney cruises are great for multi-generational family trips, because Disney finds a way to make the experience magical for every member of the family, even for adults! They have adults only pool area and adults only restaurants on each cruise ship. Of course, state of the art children’s programming for kids while parents have fun too!
You can always visit DisneyWorld in style.
The first few times we traveled to Walt Disney World, we stayed outside the resort. Then, the day we started staying in the official Disney Resorts, we discovered a whole new world, and the only way to truly travel to DisneyWorld.
Pictured: the Boardwalk Inn lobby in Orlando.
Now I fully believe that the only way to truly experience Disney World is by staying in one of their resorts. You can take advantage of the Magical Express transportation service from the airport to the resort (for free) and from resort to the parks. We love riding the Monorail from the Grand Floridian to Epcot, or taking the boat from the Boardwalk Inn. The Disney experience starts the moment you wake up, not just after you have parked your car at the huge parking lot.
Truly want to experience Disney in style? Hire a private guide to shepherd you through the parks, get you to the front of every line, share behind-the-scenes insights, and guarantee you get the picture with Elsa without waiting in line for two hours. Private guides are not cheap, but if you truly want to experience Disney like the celebrities do, this is the way to do it, and I can not recommend it enough.
Disney makes every magical dream come true.
Want to travel around the world to eat croissants in Paris, bratwurst in Germany, and sake in Japan and then go see giraffes on a safari? It might not be ideal for your adventurous mind, but it’s something you can actually do at Disney. Taste the world at Epcot and bounce over to safari through Animal Kingdom for a fraction of the price of flying around the world. Of course, it doesn’t compare to the real deal, but, for a few magical moments, it almost feels like it. That’s what Disney all about: creating unique experiences not often available to all.
For example, at spring you can experience the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival (pictured) and, in the fall, the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. And of course the parks feature special programming on all major holidays. I really love the Flower & Garden festival because all of the parks show off stunning topiaries that bring Disney stories to life in the form of flowers.
They let you think beyond the amusement park experience.
Honestly, I am so excited about the DisneyWorld trip, and not to even to meet with characters or to ride amusement park ride. I just want to eat and drink about the world at Epcot and have fun with my family.
A Disney World vacation can truly be so much more than an amusement park trip. When you pace yourself going to the parks, focus more on the experience than on riding every ride, and make sure you leave plenty of time to visit Disney Springs and the Disney Boardwalk, both are free to enter and provide entertainment and plenty of fun outside the parks. You can even ride the world’s largest helium balloon, rent a surrey bike, or design your own t-shirt at the Design A Tee shop! For the best-ever summer camp feeling, go camping at Fort Wilderness where you can try archery, horseback riding, kayaking, or making s’mores by the fire with Chip ‘n’ Dale. Whatever your fun – Disney will create it for you.
Still not a believer? Disney lets you create your own event.
I admit, I have been completely spoiled by Disney. I have attended several private Disney events – from witnessing Cinderella-worthy wedding vows at the wedding chapel to a private pirate party on the beach. If you have a fairytale dream, Disney can bring it to life for you. Honeymoon, family reunion, school trip, or even corporate retreat? They have you covered.
So, in short, your own imagination (and the size of your wallet) is the only limit to the kind of magical travel experience you enjoy with Disney.
What about you? What’s your favorite Disney travel memory?
I would love to hear from you! And as always, tag your photos of living life to the fullest on Instagram with #skimbaco.