Five Things to Love About Cruising

disney cruise ship
Disney Cruise Ship

One of my favorite ways to travel is on a cruise.  Many people love cruising and many more wonder if it is the right mode of vacation for them.  Cruising can take you anywhere you want to go and makes an amazing vacation.  In this article I want to share my favorite reason for taking a cruise.   

A Cruise can Help You Completely Unplug

One of the best things about a cruise it that one can completely unplug if they so choose.  Let’s face it the cost of staying connected in international waters can be high, no matter how deep your employers pockets.  This fact makes it easy for travelers to feel a little less guilty for not checking emails.   Don’t get me wrong, all cruise lines offer communication availability, but when you are in the middle of an ocean it is easier to resist the temptation to check email and twitter.  

There is a Cruise for Every Taste and Every Age

Cruises today are no longer “one size fits all”.  Today there is everything from family and honeymoon cruises to adult only cruises designed for adult fun.  Not to mention there is everything in between.  One can take a cruise to exotic places or take a local river cruise, depending on your taste.   Cruising used to be more for the senior set, but today you only have look around the lido deck to see the diversity of ages and interests.  

There is a Cruise Destination for Every Adventure

Norwegian Cruise
Norwegian Cruise

Today you can go just about anywhere, for any reason, on a cruise.  There are fun-in-the-sun cruises, adventure cruises, photography cruises, eco cruises, senior cruises, river cruises, Alaska cruises and just about anything you can think of cruises.  The point is cruises are no longer limited in scope.

Additionally, there are even no time restraints with a cruise these days.  You can take a short cruise for a few days or do a long repositioning cruise for a couple weeks or more.   

You Can Sleep in the Same Bed Every Night

It is nice to unpack your bag at the beginning of your vacation and not have to pack up every day.  Although you can be in a new port every day, and do a different type of excursion, you can get back on the ship and enjoy a good night’s rest and be ready for your next adventure.  

The Food is Always Amazing

Cruise food
Cruise Food

Although it is not the main reason for cruising, it is wonderful to enjoy so of the worlds best foods on a cruise.  With many of the best chefs in the world working on cruise ships, it is so much fun to see what kinds of epicurean delights are whipped up on ships.  

I know there are lots of jokes about all the weight gained on cruises, but the truth is that the food on cruises these days is healthy and amazing.  Additionally their are gyms and spas to help keep things in check.  No matter where you go or for how long, you will enjoy the food.

If you have been thinking about a cruise, there is a lot to choose from today. Cruising has grown to be an travel specialty all its own and whatever you have in mind, there is likely a cruise to make it happen.  For more information please contact Sharon and together we can figure out the best cruise for you. 


Why Hire a Travel Agent?

Travel Agent
Time to Get Away!

In this do-it-yourself world we live in, with everything we could possibly want just a click away, it is seems easy to book your own travel.  With sites like Travelocity and Expedia, it is easier than ever before to take your next vacation.  Let’s face it, most people use these sites because they want to avoid paying a travel agent to plan their trip, thinking they are saving money on commissions.  The sad truth is that the commissions are baked into the prices and you pay commissions to someone, and when you use Travelocity, Orbitz and Expedia, you pay it to them, and you do all the work.  If you use a travel agent, the same commission is paid to the travel agent and they do all the work.

So when should you talk to a travel agent?

  • Contact a travel agent when you are planning a vacation that is important.  I recently stood in line behind a couple who booked their vacation through Orbitz and when they arrived at the hotel, there was no booking for them on record.  They were meeting other family members for a major celebration and needed that reservation.  The hotel took no responsibility so they called Orbitz who said they could not find any record of their reservation and could not help them.  Fortunately, after about an hour of tension and emotion the hotel stepped up and found them a room.  If bookings are made through a travel agent, there is someone to call who will help.  Mix ups can happen, but a travel agent has many more resources at their disposal to resolve these types of problems thus eliminating your stress.
  • Contact a travel agent when you are traveling outside your own country.  International Travel is just much more complex and you want to make sure your travel documents are in order.  Even traveling between friendly countries has rules and travel agents can help you wade through everything and keep you on the right track.
  • Contact a travel agent when you plan to travel to Walt Disney World.  One of
    Magic Kingdom

    the reasons I specialize in Disney vacations is because it is not as simple as buying the tickets and getting in line.  The Disney parks are busy and whether it is your first time or your fiftieth, a good plan will help you get the most for your money.

  • Contact a travel agent when you just don’t have the time to plan a vacation.  Travel agents are a huge asset for helping you research prices, locations, comparing resorts and so on. The most savvy travelers know that doing all the travel research can be time consuming and mind numbing.  If you are short on time, a good travel agent will help you wade through options and stay on budget.

Traveling is one of the most exciting and interesting activities.  We all work hard for our time off and getting that vacation right is very important.  Don’t leave it to chance, trust an travel  agent to make your vacation perfect and handle all the details.

Disney News

Disney News at Disney's California Adventures Paradise Pier
Disney News at Disney’s California Adventures Paradise Pier

Disney news abounds everywhere and so I thought I would add some news I get every day.  Here is a little Disney News that might help if you are are planning a Disney vacation in 2018. 

Florida Residents 

Florida residents can save 30% on Walt Disney World theme park admission with the 3-Day and 4-Day Disney Select Tickets.  Florida Resident Disney Select Tickets can be used on nonconsecutive days and give you access to one theme park per day for up to 4 days. Tickets don’t expire until 6 months after their first use which must occur on or before December 31, 2018.  Contact Your Mouse Expert for more details.  


The Annual Walt Disney World Marathon is one of the most popular race events in the U.S. You’ll find that registration often fills up within days of opening.  Although you have missed this year’s event,  tickets for January 2019  go on sale April 17, 2018.  So start training and mark your calendars.   

Mardi Gras at Universal Studios

Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras festivities will kick off in less than a month, and the four of the acts that will be playing on the Music Plaza Stage have been revealed.  The Beach Boys will be featured on February 10th followed by Kelsea Ballerini on February 17th, Andy Grammer on February 18th, and Foreigner on March 17th. More information is forthcoming. 

Mardi Gras runs every night from February 3 through April 7, 2018, but the concerts will only occur on select weekend nights and Your Mouse Expert can help you plan a trip to Universal Studios.

Dates to Keep in Mind in 2018

  •  April 13: Pixar Fest Begins at Disneyland Resort
  • Coming this summer to Disney California Adventure Park, Pixar Pier will transform the southern shore of Paradise Bay at Disney California Adventure park with whimsical neighborhoods filled with characters from some of your favorite Pixar stories.
  • Coming this summer also is Toy Story Land at Walt Disney World
    in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  All the Toy Story characters and friends will welcome guests in the new Toy Story Land. 

Magical Disney Savings

Disney Magical Savings - Save up 20% on rooms at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels.
Disney Magical savings – Save up 20% on rooms at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels.

When you are planning a sun-and-fun-filled visit to Walt Disney World® Resort, staying in the middle of the magic will help them make the most of their vacation – and now is the time to book for you, Magical Disney savings!

With this Magical Disney savings offer, you can save up to up to 20% on rooms at select Disney Resort hotels.

  • For stays most nights Feb. 18-April 14, 2018. Book through March 7, 2018.
  • For stays most nights April 15-June 10, 2018. Book through April 7, 2018.

Plus, there are more Magical Disney savings when you upgrade to a room and ticket package that includes a minimum 5-day theme park ticket with the Park Hopper® Option or Park Hopper Plus Option, they can get one more day added to the ticket, FREE!*

The following room types and Disney Resort hotels are excluded:

  • 3-bedroom villas
  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Cabins at Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows
  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter

Booking Information:
This Magical Disney savings offer is available to book as “Sun and Fun Room Offer” through the “Room Only” path in the “Quote or Book” module on, or by calling the Disney Reservation Center.

Campsites included at 10% discount for Sunday through Thursday stays April 29 through May 24, 2018. Moderate and Deluxe suites may be available at a lesser discount.

*Tickets and options must be used within 14 days of first use. First use must be by 12/31/18.

For immediate information call Your Mouse Expert  214-264-7146 or email

Disney Specials for 2018!

Save 30% on Aulani a Disney Resort and Spa
Save 30% on Aulani a Disney Resort and Spa

Happy New Year!  Disney is starting the year off right with some cool Disney specials that you may want to take advantage of.  With snow flying most of the country it is fun to dream about warmer climates with sun and sand.   

Disney Specials happen throughout the year.  The biggest advantage of working with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner is that we follow your reservation to make sure that you are taking advantage of the best Disney special available for you.  

Here are the details of this Disney Special at Aulani Resort and Spa in Hawaii:

Now-May 9, 2018, you can save up to 30% off Ocean & Partial Ocean Views, and 25% off Standard, Island Garden & Poolside Views at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa for travel dates April 9-June 7, 2018. They can even save up to 25% on 4 consecutive night stays, with 25% off Ocean & Partial Ocean Views, and 20% off Standard, Island Garden & Poolside Views. And when your Clients book this offer before Jan. 10, 2018, they’ll also receive a $150/stay Resort Credit. 

To Summarize: 

Booking Window:
Early Booking: Nov. 16, 2017-Jan. 10, 2018
Broad Offer: Jan. 11-May 9, 2018

Travel Window: April 9-June 7, 2018

Early Booker Disclaimer: Savings based on the non-discounted rate for the same room. The number of rooms allocated for this offer may be limited.  Resort credits may not be redeemed for cash in whole or in part, sold separately, transferred or refunded, and expire at 11:59 p.m. on package departure date. Limit 2 rooms per reservation. Excludes suites and 3-bedroom Grand Villas. Additional charges may apply if more than 2 adults per room. Cannot be combined with other discounts or promotions. Advance reservations required.

Broad Disclaimer: Savings based on the non-discounted rate for the same room. The number of rooms allocated for this offer may be limited. Limit 2 rooms per reservation. Excludes suites and 3-bedroom Grand Villas. Additional charges may apply if more than 2 adults per room. Cannot be combined with other discounts or promotions.

For immediate information call 214-264-7146 or email  You can also fill out our convenient request form.   

Why keep on dreaming of exotic places, find out where Disney can take you.  

Disney Vacation Planners Concierge Services

When You Already Have Accommodations

As a Disney Vacation Planner, I often have clients call me who book alternative accommodations in the Orlando area but need help planning some Disney activities.  Since I don’t charge clients for my planning service because I am paid by Disney when I book accommodations and the like, they wonder if I can still help them.  The short answer is yes, I can help.   When you already have accommodations but need a little help planning your Disney vacation, the Disney vacation planners with Ears of Experience developed the Concierge Service.  Whether you want to know the best time of the day to visit Walt Disney World® Resort, or you need dinner reservations after a day on the rides, we are here to answer any questions you have and will help you plan down to the smallest detail. 

Your Authorized Disney Vacation Planner can help you enjoy the Magic of Disney Fireworks
Your Authorized Disney Vacation Planner can help you enjoy the Magic of Disney Fireworks

Your Authorized Disney Vacation Planner with Ears of Experience offers two concierge packages customized to your needs.  When you want an itinerary and dining reservations or you want a hassle-free Disney vacation experience we have a package to help.  

Whether you have your own accommodation or not, the services of an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner will save you time.   If you don’t stay on a Disney property we can give you some tips and tricks to help you navigate the parks and still have a Magical Vacation.   For more information contact Your Mouse Expert at  

Walt Disney World Fast Pass Tips!

Getting to Your Favorite Ride Is Very Important!
At Walt Disney World Getting to Your Favorite Ride Is Very Important and the Fast Pass helps you Enjoy the Magic quicker!

Over the years Walt Disney World has developed many ways of helping guests get the most of their time spent in the parks.  The latest development is the advent of the Fast Pass.  In the not-too-distant past, a Fast Pass was obtained by taking one’s entrance card to the nearest Fast Pass dispensing machine and selecting the rides for which a Fast Pass was desired.  It always meant that when entering a Walt Disney World park, that one member of the party did a mad rush to a machine with the cards for the entire party in hand.  Usually the most “fleet-of-foot” in the party was elected to the task.  

Walt Disney World created The Magic Bands and My Disney Experience App to make Getting a Fast Pass a Breeze.
Walt Disney World created The Magic Bands and My Disney Experience App to make Getting a Fast Pass a Breeze.

Today, Walt Disney World has invented the Magic Band and My Disney Experience app, the process has been much simplified.  One can actually make Fast Pass selections in advance of the trip, making the entrance into the parks much more leisurely.  

There are some key things to think about when choosing your Fast Passes, even in advance.  Here are a few tips for those of you who prefer to do your own planning. 

  • At 7:00 am 60 days prior to your arrival date at a Disney resort, your party can reserve up to 3 Fast Passes per day (equal to the number of days you have on the park tickets in your My Disney Experience account).  You cannot choose to have more than one Fast Pass per attraction.  Once you choose your Fast Passes they will automatically link to your Magic Band.
  • Fast Pass selection for Epcot and Hollywood Studios are available in two tiers.  The tiers are determined by the popularity of the attraction so you can only pick one attraction from tier one and your remaining 2 (of 3 per day) selections must be made from tier 2.  Test Track, Frozen, and Soarin’ are in tier one in Epcot.  Toy Story and Rockin’ Roller Coaster are in Tier one at Hollywood Studios.  
  •  Once you have used all 3 of your initial FastPasses, you can select another fast pass for another attraction – one at a time and based on availability. 
  • Additional Fast Pass selections can be made within the app on your smartphone or you can visit a My Magic kiosk.   Please note: before you can select additional Fast Passes, your 3 pre-selected FastPasses for the day must all be used or expired.  
  • Remember that if you get to the park at opening the lines for many rides will be much shorter.  Choose to Fast Pass attractions later in the day or to maximize the number of attractions you can get to and still avoid lengthy wait times.

Although Disney has made it easier than ever to get your magical vacation in place, not everyone has the time for all the details.  Your Mouse Expert can help you plan the perfect vacation.  Services are free and can save you both time and money.  Click here to get more information or request a quote. 

Can I Take This into Disney Parks?

With the world being what it is, the folks at Walt Disney World have taken some measures to ensure the safety of guests and cast members.  With that in mind, visitors will note that there is increased security and bag searching at each of the Disney parks.  Proactive visitors should know that they should avoid trying to take things into the park that may get turned back at the gate.  So many people are asking “what can it take into Disney Parks?”  This short blog will give you some ideas of the items likely to be turned away.  

Items That May Surprise You when You Ask “Can I Take This into Disney Parks?

Can I Take This Into Disney Parks? - NO!
Can I Take This Into Disney Parks? – NO!

Selfie sticks – although these are not a security risk, they can be annoying and Disney has determined that they will cause confusion and traffic jams that could be avoided, 

Wagons – you will see a sea of strollers at any Disney park but never a wagon.

Shoes with built in wheels – although I am not sure how these shoes would be identfied at the gate unless someone “wheels” through the gate, they are none-the-less prohibited.  If one does wear them, I would suggest that you could be asked to leave if you start wheeling around.  Cast members consider they are a risk for running into others inadvertently, and cast members are never far from sight and they take their jobs very seriously.  

Folding chairs – I know that it would be wonderful to have a chair for the parade, but can you imagine the kaos if we could.

Items That Will Make You Glad They Aren’t Allowed

Skateboards – I have never seen anyone try to bring these in, but are you glad they can’t?

Drones and Remote Control Toys – Can you imagine the kaos that would ensue if Disney let these items into the park?

Suitcases, coolers and backpacks – Before asking “Can I Take this Into Disney Paks?”, here are some guidelines that will help get them admitted.

 If the cooler is required to carry medication it will be admitted but may be stored in a locker or with Guest Relations.  The other items have a size limit, which is 24″ long x 15″ wide x 18″ high, so measure before you go.  Remember you can store some items in a locker to avoid having to carry everything all around the park in a large bag.  

Item You Should not Have to Ask “Can I Take This Into Disney Parks?”

Weapons – Even though this should go without saying, Your Mouse Expert has actually seen someone detained for trying to get a gun in the park.  It is prohibited.  This includes (toy guns, toy blasters, squirt guns, etc.)

Alcoholic beverages – Although many of the sit down dining establishments serve alcohol, one can not carry alcohol into the parks.

Pets – (unless they are service animals, defined as any dog or miniature horse trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability)

Wrapped Gifts – Seriously, they don’t know what’s in the box.   All gifts must be able to be unwrapped, so if you are planning a birthday party in the park, put gifts in bags.  

Although we all know that it is prudent on the part of Walt Disney World, security lines can be annoying, but guest can avoid delays by avoiding trying to sneak items into the park. and not carrying everything in but the kitchen sink.  We have gone through these lines many times and we go to great lengths to not carry any bags and reduce the time we spend getting into a park.  If you must carry a bag(s), have them open and ready for inspection.  Disney does a great job of trying to get everyone through quickly so that everyone can have a “magical day”.  Be polite and be prepared.   


Disney Vacation Planner Reviews Disney Resorts

As an Authorized  Disney Vacation Planner, I am always telling my clients how important it is to stay at Disney resorts because of all the perks staying on a Disney property gives them when planning a vacation.  However, Disney resorts offer guests a unique vacation experience that goes beyond the perks of the parks.  Each resort has a unique theme and envelopes guests in charm and character.   

Disney's Animal Kingdom Park
Elusive Lions at Disney’s the Animal Kingdom Park

Disney offers guests something unique at each Disney resort.  This blog will give you a little overview of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.  We expect to see animals at The Animal Kingdom Park, but at the lodge?  Remember this is Disney so the answer YES!  You will discover over 30 species of African wildlife, including zebras, giraffes, gazelles, kudu, and flamingos.  Each room offers a guide to help you identify all the animals you can see on the property. 

Disney Resorts Offer Great Spots to Relax

Disney Resorts offers pools which make a great place to escape the crowds
Disney Resorts offers pools which make a great place to escape the crowds

Sick of the crowds at the parks?  Take your vacation to the next level.  We often find ourselves enjoying the luxury of the various Disney resorts and The Animal Kingdom Lodge offers guests some beautiful places to do just that.   Escape the Florida heat in an 11,000-square-foot pool with an exciting waterslide and gently sloping, zero-depth entry point similar to that of a natural watering hole.   The pool area is trees and Floridian palms, and Uzima Pool includes a children’s wading pool and 2 whirlpool spas.

Guests can also cool off at Samawati Springs Pool, which offers a thrilling waterslide, 2 whirlpool spas and Uwanja Camp—an animal observation site-themed water playground with squirting Venus flytraps, a rope bridge, water cannons and more. Samawati Springs Pool, located just a short walk away from Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village.

Children ages 3 to 12 can enjoy arts and crafts, watch Disney movies, play with a variety of toys, video, and board games, and even make new friends!  Dinner, snacks, themed activities and cool keepsakes make it an experience they’ll rave about for days to come.

Disney Resorts of Great Dining

All of the Disney resorts offer amazing dining options and the Animal Kingdom Lodge is no exception.  Enjoy an African style buffet for African themed dishes from over 50 African countries.  

Enjoy African cooking with an Indian flare at Sanaa.  Enjoy Indian-style bread service, refreshing salads, slow-cooked meats and decadent desserts.  There is something for everyone to enjoy.  

Visit Jiko and discover a delicious blend of traditional African, Indian and Mediterranean cuisine.  You will enjoy a variety of meats, vegetables for both children and adults, all infused with the flavors unique to these regions.  

Evenings at The Animal Kingdom Lodge

As the day winds down take a few minutes to watch the animals eat dinner, or relax around one of the fire pits at the animal observatory area.  Children can watch movies under the stars.  Disney resorts are great for long evenings of relaxation and fun.  Don’t miss the advantages that a Disney resort can offer.  

Disney Cruise Line Stops at Castaway Cay

Disney Cruise Ship
Disney Cruise Ship

Whenever you take a Disney Cruise you may be lucky enough to visit Castaway Cay.  Not sure what there is to love about Castaway Cay?. Once you visit, this island fast becomes one of the favorite parts of a Disney cruise. Although a private island is not unique to Disney Cruise Lines, Castaway Cay is Disney’s private island where Bahamian cruises and most Caribbean cruises visit on their itinerary.   It is a quiet island that for the most part is uninhabited until a Disney cruise comes in.  It is a wonderful place to relax, swim, snorkel, bike or whatever you want to do.  Here are some of the cool things that you can do while on Castaway Cay.

Castaway Cay’s Pelican Plunge

While your Disney Cruise ship is anchored on Castaway Cay, you can enjoy Pelican Plunge, a floating water slide and play platform located in the ocean near the family Beach.  With two water slides, a giant bucket dump of water, and water cannons to shoot targets this area provides hours of fun and excitement.  Remember that unless you are 38 inches in height you must wear life jackets which are provided.   The platform is in the ocean and you will not be able to touch the bottom.  

Scuttle Cove

Scuttle Cove is a supervised children’s play area and is supervised by counselors from the ship.  Children may be dropped off in this are worry-free.  

Spring a Leak at Castaway Cay

This is a water play area for kids where the leaks from a “broken water pipe” spray everywhere. Your little ones will love all the water fun for hours.  

Hide Out 

As the name implies, this is a great place for your teens to hang out.  This is the beach area for teens complete with loungers and umbrellas.  A place away from parents for games and relaxing.

Disney Cruise Ship Docked At Castaway Cay
Disney Cruise Ship Docked at Castaway Cay

Disney Cruise Lines Invites Adults to Serenity Bay

Serenity is the name of the game in this adult only beach.   A quiet spot to relax, read or even take a nice swim in the quiet, calm waters, adults will revel in Serenity Bay.  Looking for a massage, well Serenity Bay offers cabanas for a private message.  Make sure you book them ahead of time, they go fast.  

Bike Rentals on Castaway Cay

 A great way to see the island and get a little exercise is to rent a bike. There are assorted sizes of bikes available to rent, including those with training wheels and kids’ seats for the littlest riders. 

Privacy is the Key at Castaway Cay
Privacy is the Key at Castaway Cay

Activities and Excursions

There are a variety of tours and excursions available to be reserved on the island offering a little of something for everyone: parasailing, deep sea fishing, fishing charters banana boat rides, aqua trikes, sea kayaks and inner tube rental and feeding the stingrays.

Life vests are available free of charge. Popular tours like the fishing charters and sting ray feeding sell out quickly, so you may want to book your excursions online or a few days prior to your Castaway Cay visit.  If for some reason the tours are canceled Disney typically will issue a refund. 


Lunch is an event on Castaway Cay with three BBQ buffet locations on the island to choose from and all free just as if you were still on the ship.   The BBQ buffet style lunch is usually served between 12:00 –  2:00 pm.  After 2 pm there will be the option of grab & go options that include pre-made and wrapped sandwiches, cookies.
1) Cookie’s BBQ – located on the near side of the family beach
2) Cookie’s Too – located on the far side of the family beach
3) Serenity Bay BBQ – is the adult beach option

The meal offers a variety of choices with ribs, chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, fish, salads, corn on the cob, fresh fruit and self-serve soft serve ice cream. There are refreshment stations located all around the island to keep you hydrated serving soft drinks, water, juice, and iced tea. 

Enjoy a Relaxing Walk along the pathways of Castaway Cay
Enjoy a Relaxing Walk along the pathways of Castaway Cay


You can also purchase the stamps onboard and they will be charged to the room. This is important as the post office isn’t always open when the ship is docked there. You can opt to either drop the postcards off at post office themselves or cast members can do that for them.

Character Meet and Greet

There will be ample opportunity to meet characters on Castaway Cay all around the island, so don’t forget your camera!  You may even be lucky enough to meet Captain Jack Sparrow along the way.  

Excercise Anyone?

Sign up to do the Castaway Cay 5K or morning yoga class on the beach. The 5k sounds easy but it is often very hot and humid so make sure you practice a little before signing up and make sure you do it first thing when you get off the ship.  You can also walk or bike along the 5k route.  Each participant receives a special Disney medal for completing the 5K event. 

If you are interested in more information you can request a quote or fill out our contact form.  You can also call Your Mouse Expert at 214-264-7146