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Why You Should Book Your 2022 Walt Disney World Vacation NOW!

Why You Should Book Your 2022 Walt Disney World Vacation NOW!

Friday, November 19th, 2021

As well all know, ‘two weeks to flatten the curve’ has turned into 18 months and counting.  We are all COVID tired.  Tired of listening to the news, tired of worrying, tired of keeping up with current rules and regulations just to step outside of our homes.  Granted, nowadays, we can go out to the movies, visit friends, dine at a favourite restaurant and more, but that really isn’t enough.

Disney Enchantment Nighttime Show at the Magic Kingdom

Maybe it’s because some of us are still working from home against our preference, or because we are still monitoring on-line learning or maybe it’s just because we’ve had one zoom call too many.  Whatever the reason, COVID has all caught up with all of us.

So what better way to take a break from this vicious cycle we’ve all been living in than taking a much-needed vacation?  And where else would we vacation to than somewhere to reward our children for being so patient, a place where our entire family can have fun together and where magic exists.  The Walt Disney World Resort is already a bucket list vacation on any given day and a yearly vacation destination for many.  Add this COVID nonsense into the mix and the yearning to visit The Most Magical Place on Earth is stronger than ever before.

Unlike other vacation destinations, most people don’t book a Walt Disney World vacation last minute.  To the contrary, most visitors book it at least six months out.  Which is the right thing to do.  Why?  Because the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida is the most popular vacation destination in North America.  In fact, did you know Walt Disney World in Florida welcomes more tourists in a calendar year than the entire cruise industry combined?  Even with Walt Disney World’s 25+ resorts, it can and DOES sell out.  In fact, at this time, there is very limited availability at all of their 25+ resort hotels for travel through until April, 2022!

Why am I telling you this?  Because if you’re even possibly considering a Walt Disney World Vacation in 2022, to encourage you to lock in a refundable vacation reservation as soon as possible.  There will not be any ‘last minute deals’ anytime soon.  There will however be next to no vacancy for a very long time to come.

Beacons of Magic at Epcot

Which leads me to my next point as to why you should book now. Cancellation policies are the number one reason why at Fairytale Dreams & Destinations, we choose to solely work with The Walt Disney Travel Company.  When booking your vacation to the Walt Disney World Resort with us, only a $200 USD deposit would be due at time of booking.  That deposit is FULLY REFUNDABLE up to 30 days prior to departure.  This small deposit allows you to book your preferred travel time, at the resort of your choice, and it allows us to begin working with your family to reserve your much needed theme park reservations and create your daily itinerary.  So, in short, there is absolutely no risk in booking so far in advance.

The demand to travel post-COVID is REAL and it’s about to get stronger.  The Canadian government has already lifted the ban on international travel.  Vaccines are about to become readily available for children ages 5-11 and there is progress on lifting the molecular test requirement for Canadians to return home.

If you are even thinking of vacationing to The Walt Disney World Resort in 2022, put a deposit down now.  If you wait it out, you risk losing the availability.  After all, isn’t visiting the Most Magical Place on Earth the best medicine to move away from COVID?  And if anyone needs some of that magic right about now, it’s every single one of us.

– Christine Fiorelli

The Magic is Calling.  Contact Fairytale Dreams & Destinations to Answer the Call Today!

(905) 857.3611 | 1.855.FDMAGIC
10 McEwan Drive West Unit 3 Bolton ON L7E 1H1
www.fairytaledestinations.com

 

 

 


Yes, it is Safe to Vacation to Walt Disney World

Monday, November 8th, 2021

The Magic is Calling You to the World’s Most Magical Celebration

Due to my line of work, I’ve been fortunate enough to return to the Walt Disney World Resort three times since the summer.  More specifically, three times since the Canadian air border opened back up following its 17-month closure due to COVID.  I first returned in late August.  At the time, the state of Florida was at its peak with COVID cases, experiencing over 25,000 new cases a day.  That number has been on the decline ever since, averaging under 1,500 cases a day at the time I write this.  In fact, based on daily averages, the Sunshine State now has the lowest number of COVID cases among the 50 United States of America.

I can attest firsthand (three times now) that it IS safe to travel to Florida.  Don’t believe me?  Just ask the Canadian government, who back on October 21st, quietly lifted the advisory against non-essential international travel for the first time since March 2020.  As of today, when visiting the United States of America, you can exercise normal security precautions.  Which means that the overall safety and security situation is similar to Canada.   Even better is that with the travel advisory no longer in place, it is once again possible to purchase travel insurance.

So, what exactly is it like to travel to Walt Disney World today?  I think it’s important to know the answer to that question because I have a sneaking suspicion that COVID will be with us in some capacity for many years to come.  And I don’t about you, but I don’t plan on letting it stop me from enjoying my magical vacations any longer.

As restrictions for international travel continue to be lifted, we expect the requirements I’m about to discuss to change in the coming weeks and months.  However, the following are the rules as they stand right now.

A Negative Antigen Test is Required to Enter the United States

In case you live under a rock, in order to board a plane into the United States from Canada, all Guests age 12+ must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.  And speaking as an AstraZeneca/Pfizer mixed recipient, I can assure you that ANY combination of Heath Canada approved vaccines is acceptable.  Additionally, all passengers ages two and older need to submit a negative COVID-19 antigen test no more than 72 hours prior to their scheduled flight time.  The key word here is ‘scheduled’.  Which means if you have your negative test in hand and your airline delays your flight, your test is still valid to board your flight.  Select Walmart and Shoppers Drug Mart’s offer this Antigen test.  The cost ranges from $20 – $40 per person and you’ll have your results in about 15 minutes.  I like to schedule this test along with my ‘day before travel’ preparations, so I get it taken care of right before my mani-pedi.

On the day of departure – unless you are actively eating or drinking – be prepared to wear a mask from the moment you get to the Toronto airport, during your entire flight and while at the Orlando International Airport.  Yes, the day of your flight involves a lot of mask wearing.  My advice is to opt for one of the blue disposable ones.  As adorable as your homemade or purchased cloth masks are, the disposable ones are far more breathable for such a long day.  Side tip, I always use these masks when visiting the hair salon on my two+ hour visit for my colour, cut, and blow dry!

The Disney company follows all CDC guidelines.  Therefore, masks are currently required at indoor locations at the Walt Disney World Resort.  This includes restrooms and indoor queues.  Given the fact that you will be taking your mask on and off regularly, I HIGHLY recommend opting for shorts with pockets for easy access.  Another good option (especially for children) is using a mask strap to easily carry it around your neck.

The All New Harmonious Nighttime Show at Epcot

I went to Vaughan Mills last month and there were more people in the halls here than there were while standing in ANY indoor queue at a Disney theme Park.  However, roughly 20% of the people at Vaughan Mills were not wearing their masks properly or simply not at all.  I’ve said it before and it bears repeating, there is no such thing as mask exceptions at the Walt Disney World Resort.  If you can’t wear a mask, Disney’s response is ‘now is not the time for you to visit our theme parks’.  So, you won’t see masks hanging under anyone’s nose on the monorail, nor will you see anyone arguing about having to put a mask on like I witness all too often here at home.

Before you know it, a good time was had by all and it’s time to come back home.  To do so, all travellers ages five years and older must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of their scheduled flight time to return to Canada.  You must also upload your proof of vaccination and negative test in the ArriveCAN app.

Fast Test Now Offers Same Day PCR Test Results

I can’t stress enough that this process sounds SO much more difficult than it is.  There are a few ways to obtain the test and costs associated with it range from $0 to $149 USD per person.  Rest assured that your Vacation Specialist will advise you on how to go about obtaining this test at or near the Walt Disney World Resort.  Collectively, our team has undergone this task about a dozen times now, so we are very familiar with the procedure and are here to walk you through the process when the time comes for your family to prepare for it.   Most importantly, all the places we have sourced out (and used ourselves) will only perform the non-invasive/lower nasal swabs for this test.  Because naturally we all want to avoid having a Q-tip shoved up our nostril to our brain whenever possible.

My personal favourite option for this test is from Switch Health.  These tests are purchased before leaving home.  You bring the test with you, then with a mobile device and internet connection (and from the comfort of your Walt Disney World Resort hotel room), you perform the test in front of a technician and will have your test results in about 30 minutes!  The only challenge is that because this option is so popular, it often sells out.

I personally like to take the test as close to that 72-hour mark as possible.  Not because it’s difficult, but because I don’t want to associate the test with my vacation being over.  I want to have MORE fun after the fact!  This way, I can enjoy my last few days in the theme parks before having to think about coming back home.

The last thing to be aware of is that unvaccinated children must avoid group settings for two weeks following their visit to the United States.  Once Health Canada approves the vaccine for children ages 5-11 and little ones can be protected, this rule will of course be lifted.

So, as a quick re-cap, the current steps that must be taken are:

  • Guests ages 12+ must be vaccinated against COVID-19
  • Guests ages two and older must provide a negative antigen test to fly into the United States
  • Guests ages two and older must wear masks at all indoor locations during travel and while at the Walt Disney World Resort
  • Guests ages five and older must provide a negative COVID test and upload results to ArriveCan to fly home
  • Unvaccinated children must avoid group settings for 14 days

The big question is if taking these few extra steps are worth it to answer the call of the magic?  You bet your bottom dollar that they are!  After all, you can’t visit the edge of the galaxy over zoom.

– Christine Fiorelli

The Magic is Calling.  Contact Fairytale Dreams & Destinations to Answer the Call Today!

(905) 857.3611 | 1.855.FDMAGIC
10 McEwan Drive West Unit 3 Bolton ON L7E 1H1
www.fairytaledestinations.com


Letting Myself “WOAH”

Thursday, October 14th, 2021

Globus & Mundi Travel Agency at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley

I recently returned for the first time since pre COVID from a wonderful three night stay at Universal Orlando Resort.  The main purpose of my visit was to experience two new attractions that opened while the US/Canadian border was closed, The Bourne Stuntacular located in Universal Studios and VelociCoaster found inside Islands of Adventure.

If you’ve never visited before, the first thing that you need to know about the Universal Orlando Resort is that it is NOT the same as the resort complex down the street.  And that is a FANTASTIC thing.  I mean why would you want to spend your vacation time and money on a similar experience?  Universal is many things, but above all else, it’s an absolute must do for Harry Potter fans and/or thrill seekers.  I happen to fall into the latter category.

The Ukrainian Ironbelly perched on top of Gringotts Bank

Not that I dislike Harry Potter, but I never cared for the franchise.  I did read all seven books and saw the corresponding movies.  Ok, that’s not entirely true.  I read six and a half books.  I was so bored when I reached the tent scene in the Deathly Hallows, that I stopped reading and asked my husband to tell me how it ends.  So – unlike most – my enjoyment for Harry Potter didn’t come from reading the books or watching the movies.  It came in 2012 during my very first visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter when I felt as though the pages of the books came to life before me.  And now, it’s safe to say that experiencing it has turned me into a fan of the Harry Potter franchise.

Theming at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is like nothing you’ve ever come across before.  You can stroll the streets of London and enter Diagon Alley, where you will find some of the wizarding world’s most famous establishments.  Beneath the fire breathing Ukrainian Ironbelly dragon, you can join Harry, Ron and Hermione as they hunt for a horcrux and face off against he who must not be named.  You can dine at the Leaky Cauldron, pick up a magical gag at Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, shop for school robes and so much more.

Hogwarts Castle at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade

After you have all your school supplies, you can travel through platform 9¾ and take the Hogwarts Express over to Hogsmeade.  This snow-capped wizarding village is filled with enchanted wand shops and more.  At the top of the village, you’ll find Hogwarts Castle, where thanks to a spell from Hermione, you’ll take flight and soar above the castle.  You can also go well beyond the school grounds to join Hagrid and venture into the Forbidden Forest.  And when you’re ready for a drink, I highly recommend the frozen butterbeer, as I simply can’t get enough of this butterscotch and marshmallow deliciousness.

While several muggles will spend a lot of time exploring both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, there is much to experience at the Universal theme parks beyond the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  So after my second butterbeer and too many chocolate frogs, I was ready to check out my first of two new experiences: The Bourne Stuntacular.

This show replaced the “SUPER” Terminator 2: 3D, a show I thoroughly enjoyed sitting through every time I visited Universal Studios.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, Terminator 2: 3D was a live show, where performers interacted with a 3D film.  The effects of this show were excellent for its time.  But The Bourne Stuntacular has taken those same effects, picked them up and ran away with them.

The Bourne Stuntacular Poster at Universal Studios

If you’ve never seen the Bourne movies, go ahead and watch them all right now.  Go on, I’ll wait.  But all you really need to know to enjoy Stuntacular is that Jason Bourne is on the run, he’s dangerous and he’s the good guy.

In The Bourne Stuntacular, you’ll observe fistfights, helicopters, high-speed car chases and more, all thanks to a 130 ft wide, 28 ft tall screen that blends in seamlessly with mobile set pieces.  And in a similar fashion to its predecessor, the action transitions between live performance to the screen and back again.  As much as I enjoyed Terminator 2: 3D, The Bourne Stuntacular is by far the best stunt show I’ve ever seen and is the textbook example on how to make a great attraction even better.

Jurassic Park area of Islands of Adventure

I purposely saved riding VelociCoaster for last.  Because not only am I a thrill seeker, but one of my all-time favourite movie franchises is Jurassic Park.  As such, I’ve always loved the theming and details found in this area of Islands of Adventure.  So, I was over the moon when I heard that Universal built a roller coaster in the middle of the Raptor paddock!

Taking a lesson from John Hammond, Universal “spared no expense” when building VelociCoaster.  The story for this ride takes place right before the first Jurassic World movie.  Once here, you have entered Jurassic World Resort and are about to race through the velociraptor paddock with “trained” raptors racing alongside you.  The indoor (yay, air conditioning!) queue will keep you entertained, and fans will very much enjoy the nod to Dr. Ian Malcolm and other clever Easter eggs from the original 1993 Jurassic Park movie.

As for the coaster itself?  Hold on to your butts.  No matter how much you mentally prepare yourself, you won’t be ready for the launch.  And after the fact, you will be too busy screaming from your first of four inversions to think about it again.  The ride pauses briefly in the paddock area before launching you even faster, this time at 70 miles per hour in only 2.4 seconds, pushing you 155 feet into the air and then immediately dropping into an 80-degree vertical drop.

Indoor Queue at VelociCoaster

You might think at this point, the coaster is going to slow down and return to its loading station.  But you would be wrong because you can’t race with raptors without experiencing a 360-degree barrel roll just inches above water!  And if you enjoy zero gravity – the sensation of floating in your seat – you’ll feel it about a dozen times throughout VelociCoaster.

Did I mention that all this takes place while strapped in only with a lap bar?  I’m not going to lie; I didn’t even notice the raptors because I was too busy fearing for my life.  The VelociCoaster is relentless and extremely intense, but the design of the vehicle and tracks make for an unbelievably smooth experience.

If you have visited the Orlando area and have not yet made your way over to Universal Orlando Resort, you truly don’t know what you’re missing.  Here, you can play, scream and laugh all at the same time.  So, live in the moment, embark on your epic adventure and let yourself “WOAH”!

– Christine Fiorelli

Everyone Needs a Fairytale.  Contact Fairytale Dreams & Destinations to Take Back the Magic Today!

(905) 857.3611 | 1.855.FDMAGIC
10 McEwan Drive West Unit 3 Bolton ON L7E 1H1
www.fairytaledestinations.com

 

 


The World’s Most Magical Celebration

Tuesday, October 5th, 2021

Last week I was invited to a media preview of the World’s Most Magical Celebration – the 50th Anniversary of the Walt Disney World Resort.  I questioned how Disney was going to find new and innovative ways to celebrate such a milestone.  But I was quickly reminded that nobody creates magic quite like Disney can and they have pulled out all the stops for this celebration to prove it.

When the Walt Disney World Resort opened its doors back on October 1st, 1971, it consisted of one theme park, two resort hotels and a campground.  Today, the 147 square kilometre complex includes four theme parks, two water parks, over 25 resort hotels and much, much more.  Yes, the resort has grown – a LOT – over the past 50 years.

Remy's Ratatouille Adventure

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure

The idea of Disney World began one Sunday afternoon, when a father was bored watching his daughters on a carousel.  That boredom led to a vision of somewhere in the world where adults and children could play together.  Fifty years later, this common enjoyment remains the focus of Walt Disney World, as majority of its attractions and shows are still experienced and enjoyed by Guests of all ages.

One of the main additions for the 50th anniversary is the brand-new Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure inside the France pavilion at Epcot.  Once onboard, you’ll feel as though you’ve been shrunk to the size of Chef Remy as you scurry though Gusteau’s restaurant on one wild ride.  This attraction for all-ages is a welcomed addition to the park, as it fits in perfectly with both The Sea with Nemo and Friends and Frozen Ever After.

Fab 50 Statue of Figment

The centrepiece of the magical celebration is Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom.  The castle underwent a lengthy refurbishment and is now dressed up in a new colour scheme and fancy décor.  For those of you who remember the 25thanniversary Castle cake, I promise you Disney did not repeat that beautiful disaster.

Scattered across all four parks are the Disney Fab 50 statues, which represent the stories that have moved us to dream bigger, follow our passions and believe in the power of magic.  I quite enjoyed trying to find all 50, but I only found 24.  I look forward to discovering the remaining 26 on my next visit.

Disney Enchantment

The most exceptional features of the celebration all take place after the sun goes down.  Since 1971, fireworks have offered Guests an exclamation point at the end of an enchanting day at Magic Kingdom.  From the days of Fantasy in the Sky to the recent Happily Ever After, over and over, each new nighttime spectacular has raised the bar.  And the all-new Disney Enchantment nighttime show at Magic Kingdom is no exception to this golden rule.  Narrated by Angela Bassett, Disney Enchantment blends fireworks, Disney music and immersive projection effects from Cinderella Castle, all the way down Main Street U.S.A.

Barges for Harmonious During the Day

Over at Epcot, Harmonious has debuted for the 50th and it is the largest nighttime spectacular ever created for a Disney theme park.  I’m not going to lie, this show scared me.  Mostly because I worried that the giant barges that are required for it are quite the eye sore in the middle of the World Showcase lagoon.  But I’m happy to report that these new daytime barges are well worth this amazing evening show.  Harmonious celebrates the music of Disney and its ability to unite us all, bridging cultures and generations to unlock the magic of possibility.

On top of these two nighttime spectaculars, all four theme park icons transform into ‘Beacons of Magic’.  Cinderella Castle creates a dazzling glow that sparkles with pixie dust.  Lights shine across the reflective panels on Spaceship Earth.  The Hollywood Tower Hotel returns to its former glory by evoking the glimmer of the golden age and fireflies gather to call forth the magic of nature on the Tree of Life.  These Beacons of Magic are stunning!  So much so, that I question why it took Disney 50 years to make this happen.

Beacons of Magic | Epcot

During the celebration, Disney is full of magical touches.  Throughout the resort, you’ll discover many royal blue and gold 50th anniversary decorations, EARidescent connects all corners of the resort, monorails feature glowing nighttime lights that match each train’s specific colour and SO much more.

In pure Disney fashion, the 50th anniversary celebration is for all ages to experience.  The magic is calling and there has never been a more opportune time to answer that call.  But not to worry if you don’t feel comfortable traveling to the Walt Disney World Resort just yet, as the World’s Most Magical Celebration will be ongoing for the next 18 months.

– Christine Fiorelli

Everyone Needs a Fairytale.  Contact Fairytale Dreams & Destinations to Take Back the Magic Today!

(905) 857.3611 | 1.855.FDMAGIC
10 McEwan Drive West Unit 3 Bolton ON L7E 1H1
www.fairytaledestinations.com

 

 


To Cruise or Not to Cruise?

Wednesday, September 8th, 2021

Deck 11 Forward on the Disney Dream

Deck 13 Forward on the Disney Dream

Disney Cruise Line has finally returned to the waters after a long and difficult 17 months.  Recently, I was invited to sail on a 3-Night Bahamian cruise aboard the Disney Dream with two stops at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas.  While it’s amazing that cruising has returned, it hasn’t been able to do so without challenges.  Specifically, regarding the strict rules in place to step foot on board.  These rules depend on your vaccination status, where you are traveling from and what ports of call your ship is making.

To add some sheer “fun” to the mix, these rules are continuously changing.  For example, as a mixed dose recipient of the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccine, I was able to step on board with proof of a negative PCR test taken between 5 days and 24 hours prior to my sailing.  But as I’m writing this, not only are Guest’s with mixed doses such as mine currently unable to sail to the Bahamas (including Disney’s Castaway Cay), but negative PCR tests for the unvaccinated must now take place no more than 3 days prior to sailing.

While what I’m about to suggest may sound like nothing more than a shameless plug, I assure you it’s not.  And that is how right now, it’s more important than ever to use a Travel Agent.  As per TICO (Travel Industry Council of Ontario), it is the responsibility your Travel Agent who works for a TICO registered Travel Agency to be on top of and advise you of these ever-evolving rules and changes, so that you don’t have to be!

Regardless of the rules at the time of your sailing, you will deal with Safe Passage before being able to board your Disney Cruise.  Safe Passage is a third-party company that Disney has hired to ensure the safety of all Guests before boarding the ships for the foreseeable future.  And from first-hand experience, I can confidently tell you that Disney couldn’t have found a company with nicer staff to take care of this for them.  They made the entire process so much easier than any of it sounds.  Staff was super friendly and just as excited as us when we were given the ‘clear to sail’ notice following our rapid COVID tests.

Mickey and Minnie on Castaway Cay

Mickey and Minnie on Castaway Cay

The onboard experience has understandably changed to reflect the world during its slow return to normal.  The biggest change is that masks are required at all indoor locations, except inside your stateroom or when actively eating or drinking.  Which was not at all a big deal, as I must wear a mask here at home anyhow.  And believe me, I would MUCH rather wear one on a Disney ship than at my local Walmart.  What’s nice, is that Cast Members will allow you to slip your mask off to take an indoor photo.

Next is to social distance yourself from other parties.  Luckily, Disney makes great effort to worry about this on your behalf.  As an example, Cast Members are on hand at theatres to seat you in every other row and to leave three seats between you and the next party.  And on Castaway Cay, you are asked not to move the beach chairs, as they have all been positioned to keep a minimum of 6 feet between you and other parties.

Little ones are not yet able to hug and obtain autographs from Disney characters.   Rest assured that they can still chat, interact, and take a selfie with so many characters onboard the ship, but hugs will have to wait just a little bit longer.

Deck 3 on the Disney Dream

Deck 3 on the Disney Dream

Currently the Small World Nursery (ages 6 months to 2 years) is not available.  Additionally, time for children (ages 3-12) to spend at the Oceaneers Club is limited in advance, but more time can be reserved (based on availability) once on board.

If you’ve never cruised with Disney before, I doubt you would know anything else has changed.  However, for those of you who have sailed with Disney in the past, there are some additional changes that you will more than likely recognize. For starters, there is no sail away party.  That being said – in true Disney fashion – they have created a cute little socially distanced welcome on-board celebration as a replacement.

There is no more mandatory muster drill.  Boo…that is so sad, right?  Because every Guest who’s muster station was outside LOVED waiting in the heat, standing too close to other people and listening to the message that repeats the phrase “in the unlikely event of an emergency” about a zillion times.  In case it wasn’t clear, that was my sarcastic voice.   Good riddance muster drills!

Instead once on board, you simply proceed to your designed Assembly Station and check in with the Cast Member before setting sail.  And…you’re DONE!  I’d like to file this change under ‘good ideas regardless of what’s happened in the last year that probably should stick around forever’.  Along with; no more self-serve for ice cream, at the soda station, during Cookies BBQ or for the food inside Cove Café.

View from our Verandah Stateroom

View from our Verandah Stateroom

Your Key to the World Cards will now be waiting for you on the fish extender outside of your stateroom door.  Speaking of your stateroom, during the closure, Disney Cruise Line upgraded the air filtration system in all staterooms onboard all four ships.  As a result, the air in your stateroom is no longer being filtered through the hallways or next door.

Mickey Waffles are not available at Cabana’s for breakfast.  What was odd is that I could opt for a breakfast at an à la carte style restaurant and order Mickey Waffles from the menu, so why weren’t they available at Cabanas?  I decided to inquire, and the reason is due to social distancing for Guests.  Now when you enter Cabanas, you are allocated to a station for food and each station offers the exact same items, so that they can easily spread Guests out.  To be fair to everyone on board – if one food station is unable to make a particular menu item – then that item is not an option at any of the other stations.  Simply put, not all stations have a Mickey waffle iron, so Cabanas is unable to offer them.  But rest assured that the à la carte style restaurants still do!

We didn’t have the Pirates IN the Caribbean Deck Party.  And, in order for Disney Cruise Line to still offer fireworks at sea while keeping with social distancing rules, they currently set off two sets of fireworks with the all-new fireworks show, Disney Ever After.  I personally preferred these fireworks.  And no matter how many times I witness it, there is something simply breathtaking about watching fireworks on a ship in the middle of the ocean.

Deck 4 on the Disney Dream

Deck 4 on the Disney Dream

If Disney Cruise Line took my advice (which they don’t, but IF they did), I would strongly recommend that they allow Guests to use their app before boarding.  While the app is very user friendly, I would have preferred to not waste time figuring out how to do things while at sea.  This criticism has nothing to do with current the rules in place, as Disney Cruise Line has had this app for years.  However, it is without a doubt needed a lot more now.  The app acts as your daily navigator, allows you to tip your drink servers, book a virtual queue to disembark the ship at Castaway Cay and much, much more.

I welcomed these changes, as not only do they allow me to sail safely, but I felt that some of them streamlined things I would normally wait for.  Which was FANTASTIC, because who doesn’t want more chill time on vacation?  But with all of these changes and new rules, was it still possible to enjoy the magic and relaxation of a Disney Cruise?  The answer for me is a resounding YES!

Chocolate soufflé at Palo

Chocolate soufflé at Palo

My return to the seas was as glorious as I had dreamt over the past year that it would be.  I’ve sailed many times with Disney, but I will never cherish any of those sailings quite like this one.

Without a doubt, the highlight of the cruise was sailing with an extremely low Guest capacity due to social distancing.  No wait for the AquaDuck, no need to make a beeline to a lounge chair at the pool and I could have swung a baseball bat and not hit anyone in the family pool.

I lost count of how many times I forgot to put my mask on before stepping outside of my stateroom.  Which was such a great thing because clearly the magic of Disney was able to whisk me away from the reality we live in, relax, and enjoy some much needed vacation time.

The Disney Dream Docked at Castaway Cay

The Disney Dream Docked at Castaway Cay

For the first time, I saw the Broadway style production of Beauty and the Beast (this live show is only performed on the Disney Dream).  I now know why it’s the only production at sea to have received an IAAPA award.  I enjoyed Jungle Cruise (Disney Cruise Line shows first run movies in their theatres), absorbed some much-needed vitamin sea and my scale tells me that I indulged in far too much good food.

Palo still has the most delicious chocolate soufflé you’ve ever tasted, walking on deck 4 is just as peaceful as ever and Castaway Cay still beacons you with its turquoise blue waters to explore it.

So I say take the cruise!  You won’t be sorry that you did.

– Christine Fiorelli

Everyone Needs a Fairytale.  Contact Fairytale Dreams & Destinations to Take Back the Magic Today!

(905) 857.3611 | 1.855.FDMAGIC
10 McEwan Drive West Unit 3 Bolton ON L7E 1H1
www.fairytaledestinations.com

 


Taking Back the Magic

Wednesday, September 1st, 2021

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

For the first time in forever, I returned to The Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.  More specifically, I returned for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began.  When the Disney Parks opened back up with strict safety measures in place just a few months after COVID reared its ugly head, I claimed “there is no way I’m going to Walt Disney World wearing a mask.” I think back on that statement, and I can’t get over how very wrong I was.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would still be dealing with COVID, 17 months (and counting) after the fact.  And the reality is we still may have years to deal with it.  So, when I was offered the opportunity to visit the Walt Disney World Resort now, I jumped at the chance.  Given my line of work, I normally visit a Disney Destination three to four times per calendar year.   So, almost two years was far too long, and I was willing to follow the rules that were so very foreign to me last summer for the chance to re-visit and embrace the magic of Disney.  Mandatory indoor masks unless I’m actively eating or drinking?  OK!  No character hugs, although selfies are allowed?  SURE!  No self-serve buffet restaurants, but family style dining instead?  SIGN. ME. UP!

Sign in Frontierland inside the Magic Kingdom

I’ve always known that the state of Florida and the Walt Disney World Resort are not the same thing, nor do they follow the same rules.  But the fact that Walt Disney World it its very own entity has never been so clear to me as it was last week.

Guest safety always has been and always will be the number one priority of any Disney Destination, but I wasn’t sure what to expect or how safe I would feel.   About a week prior to my visit, I attended a Toronto Blue Jays baseball game.  My thinking was that the 15,000 tickets they sold for a venue that normally holds 50,000 would be spread out, but that was not at all the case.  I was seated beside people I didn’t know, who weren’t wearing masks, drinking beer and shouting at the umpires.  Which is fair because it’s a baseball game.  But I was still safer here than crossing the border, wasn’t I?  At least that’s what we have been led to believe.  As a result, I wasn’t expecting to feel safer in The Walt Disney World “bubble” then at The Sky Dome – sorry, I’m old – Rogers Centre, but I absolutely did.

The difference is that at Walt Disney World, the rules are both respected and enforced.  There is no such thing as mask exceptions.  If you can’t wear a mask, Disney’s response is ‘now is not the time for you to visit our theme parks’.  So, you won’t see masks hanging under anyone’s nose on the monorail, nor will you see anyone arguing about having to put a mask on like I witness all too often at my local grocery store.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Cleaning and sanitation at Walt Disney World always went above and beyond what I experience at a hotel, amusement park or similar on a regular day.  So impressed by the cleanliness during these times was not surprising.  Cast Members (Disney lingo for employees) were constantly wiping down high touch services, always had hand sanitizer on hand and housekeeping left our room for us in pristine condition, complete with sterilizing our remote control before being plastic wrapped.

I wanted to write about that picture perfect moment how on the first day, I walked into the Magic Kingdom, stood in the middle of Main Street, staring at the newly decorated Cinderella Castle and broke down and cried.  But that would be a lie.  The truth is, I got teary eyed when my plane lifted from the ground in Toronto, when we landed in Orlando, on Disney’s Magical Express, when we passed under the ‘welcome to Walt Disney World’ sign and then I finally broke down as soon as I stepped foot into the lobby of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

Cinderella Castle itself was a sight for sore eyes.  Like so many, the past 17 months have been tough.  The castle represented normalcy and a reminder that things are beginning to get so much better.

Cinderella Castle

Without a doubt, the very best part of my visit was that it had the ability to take me away from the real world, allowed me to forget, enjoy and have fun – even for just a little while.   I will be back, as I can’t wait for another dose of the magic.  Only this time I know it won’t be nearly two years before I do so.

So, if you’re thinking of taking back the magic, I’m here to tell you that you won’t regret it.  The red head is still hanging out with the pirates, Mr. Tom Morrow has yet to answer his page and there is still room for one more happy haunt.

A Walt Disney World Vacation during COVID may force us to wear masks or keep us from hugging Elsa.  But the one thing it can’t take away is the magic.  It hasn’t gone anywhere.  In fact, I would argue that the magic is more predominant than ever.

–  Christine Fiorelli

Everyone Needs a Fairytale.  Contact Fairytale Dreams & Destinations to Take Back the Magic Today!

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Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, Opening Spring 2022 at Walt Disney World Resort

Friday, July 30th, 2021

Disney Imagineers Talk Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser

Opening spring 2022 at The Walt Disney World Resort, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser will be a two-night, immersive adventure in a galaxy far, far away that goes beyond anything Disney has created before.

But what does that mean, exactly?

To answer that question – and many more – Disney gathered some of the Disney Imagineers developing this groundbreaking project and let the cameras roll as they talked about Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. In this wide-ranging discussion, you’ll learn more about how Guests can be the hero of their own Star Wars story, about their planet-side excursion to Batuu and how this new experience complements and enhances a visit to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and so much more.

It is a must watch for anyone – from the biggest Star Wars fan to those curious about what in the galaxy Walt Disney Imagineering is up to, and everyone in between.

Everyone needs a fairytale.  Contact Fairytale Dreams & Destinations™ Inc. to be among the first to step onboard the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser!

(905) 857.3611 | 1.855.FDMAGIC
10 McEwan Drive West Unit 3 Bolton ON L7E 1H1
www.fairytaledestinations.com

Story adapted from the Disney Travel Agents website


Harmonious Debuts October 1 at EPCOT

Wednesday, July 28th, 2021

‘Harmonious’ Will Tell a Story of Global Connection as Part of ‘The World’s Most Magical Celebration’

We’re just a little more than two months from the next major milestone in the transformation of EPCOT, the debut of “Harmonious,” the new nighttime spectacular that is one of the largest ever created for a Disney park and unlike anything that’s been seen before.

“Harmonious” illuminates our shared humanity, bringing to life the vision of EPCOT through a celebration of our world and its promise. Over the years, cultures from around the world have provided inspiration for Disney films and music. In “Harmonious,” a global community of musical artists has come together and reinterpreted those familiar stories and songs in their own voice, honoring their respective cultures. Collectively, they contribute to a unique experience that could only happen at EPCOT, a place where the impossible becomes possible through the power of human imagination and the magic of Disney.

The show moves through three distinct chapters, inviting us to gather on the shores of World Showcase Lagoon, celebrate the countries and cultures of the world, and ultimately unite to create a bright tomorrow. “Harmonious” begins with a sunrise, and as the world awakens around us, we set out on a journey that takes us across the globe. It’s a dazzling and diverse feast for the eyes and ears, from the South Pacific home of “Moana” and a Middle-Eastern interpretation of “Aladdin” to “The Jungle Book” in India, China’s legend of “Mulan,” the European nations that inspired “Brave” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” and so much more.

Here’s a first look at how this stunning spectacle is coming together, as teams from Disney Live Entertainment and Walt Disney Imagineering continue working to get “Harmonious” ready for opening night.

“Harmonious” will make its grand debut on October 1 as part of the launch of “The World’s Most Magical Celebration,” marking the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort.

Everyone needs a fairytale.  Contact Fairytale Dreams & Destinations™ Inc. to be a part of The Walt Disney World Resort’s 50th Anniversary Celebration today!

(905) 857.3611 | 1.855.FDMAGIC
10 McEwan Drive West Unit 3 Bolton ON L7E 1H1
www.fairytaledestinations.com

Story adapted from the Disney Travel Agents website


Two New Nighttime Spectaculars Will Debut October 1st at Walt Disney World!

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021

Beginning October 1st 2021, “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” honors the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort, and we have some great new details to share with you about this incredible 18-month event.

A new nighttime spectacular, “Disney Enchantment,” will help kick off the 50th anniversary festivities when it debuts October 1 at Magic Kingdom Park. Created to launch with “The World’s Most Magical Celebration,” this evening extravaganza will take Guests on a journey filled with adventure, wonder and empowerment. Inspiring everyone to believe in magic, “Disney Enchantment” will feature music, enhanced lighting, stunning fireworks and, for the first time, immersive projection effects that extend from Cinderella Castle down Main Street, U.S.A.

Joining “Disney Enchantment” on October 1 will be “Harmonious” at EPCOT, one of the largest nighttime spectaculars ever created for a Disney park. This new show will bring the globe together at World Showcase Lagoon in a celebration of Disney music that inspires people worldwide. It’s a grand, powerful tribute to the stories and songs that unite us, embracing new technical magic that incorporates pyrotechnics, choreographed moving fountains, lighting and media in new ways. “Harmonious” will invite Guests to travel the globe through new interpretations of classic Disney songs as you’ve never heard them before, reimagined in more than a dozen languages by a diverse group of 240 artists from around the world.

There’s also new daytime entertainment stirring at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. Check out this artist rendering of “Disney KiteTails,” which will come alive several times daily at the Discovery River Amphitheater beginning October 1. Performers will fly windcatchers and kites of all shapes and sizes, while out on the water elaborate three-dimensional kites – some stretching to 30 feet long – will depict Disney animal friends, including Simba, Zazu, Baloo and King Louie. These colorful creations will dance through the sky to the beat of favorite Disney songs in an uplifting, vibrant experience for the whole family.

Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse will be the hosts for “The World’s Most Magical Celebration,” and they’ll be decked out in sparkling new EARidescent fashions for the 50th anniversary. As you can see in the photo, their best pals want to get in on the shimmer, too, as Donald Duck and Daisy Duck, Goofy and Pluto, and Chip ‘n’ Dale will be sporting their own custom-made EARidescent looks beginning October. 1. Guests will get a chance to see them when they travel through Magic Kingdom Park several times daily in the new “Mickey’s Celebration Cavalcade.”

These eight friends will also be featured in special golden character sculptures debuting October 1 at Magic Kingdom; in this artist rendering, you can see Mickey and Minnie shining in the sunlight near Cinderella Castle. There will be 50 characters total in this series of sculptures that will be displayed across all four theme parks.

“The World’s Most Magical Celebration” will also see the grand opening of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at EPCOT, icons at each of the four parks transforming into Beacons of Magic at night, EARidescent décor all across the resort, plus much more.

Everyone needs a fairytale.  Contact Fairytale Dreams & Destinations™ Inc. to be a part of The Walt Disney World Resort’s 50th Anniversary Celebration today!

(905) 857.3611 | 1.855.FDMAGIC
10 McEwan Drive West Unit 3 Bolton ON L7E 1H1
www.fairytaledestinations.com

Story adapted from the Disney Travel Agents website


Disney Cruise Line Announces Fall 2022 Itineraries!

Friday, June 18th, 2021

The magic of the holidays returns to Disney Cruise Line in the fall of 2022 with Halloween on the High Seas and Very Merrytime Cruises across the fleet, including the first fall season on the all-new Disney Wish. With cruises departing from Florida, New York, Texas and California, Guests will have many opportunities to experience holidays at sea with Disney Cruise Line.

Tropical Escapes from Florida

In fall 2022, the Disney Wish and Disney Fantasy will embark on Guest-favorite itineraries out of Port Canaveral, Florida, while the Disney Dream continues to sail from Miami.

The Disney Wish will continue its inaugural season with its first-ever fall and holiday sailings, offering a series of three- and four-night voyages to the Bahamas, while the Disney Fantasy will offer six-, seven- and eight-night vacations to the eastern and western Caribbean.

The Disney Dream will take Guests on four- and five-night Bahamian itineraries and five-night Caribbean cruises to either Grand Cayman or Cozumel, Mexico.

All sailings from Port Canaveral and Miami will include a stop at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island paradise outfitted for family fun and relaxation and brimming with special Disney touches.

Caribbean Cruises from San Juan

The Disney Magic will sail out of San Juan, Puerto Rico, for two special itineraries in early November. A seven-night southern Caribbean sailing will visit Antigua, St. Lucia, Aruba and Bonaire, while a following six-night voyage will feature stops in St. Thomas and Falmouth, Jamaica.

Baja Peninsula Voyages from California

Spooktacular sailings return to California in late September with Halloween on the High Seas cruises to the Baja Peninsula from San Diego. The Disney Wonder will host three-, four-, five- and seven-night vacations from southern California, allowing Guests to celebrate the Halloween season at sea while taking in the mesmerizing beauty of Mexico.

Sailings to Bermuda and Canada from New York

The Disney Magic returns to New York in late September for a series of Halloween on the High Seas sailings to Bermuda and Canada. Guests can visit Bermuda’s pink sand beaches and colorful coral reefs on five-night vacations or set their sights for a special six-night cruise to the Canadian ports of New Brunswick and Halifax that includes a stop in Bar Harbor, Maine.

Vacations to Bahamas and Caribbean from Texas

The Disney Magic will visit Galveston, Texas, in late November for a variety of five- and seven-night Very Merrytime Cruises. Guests can experience the magic of the holidays on western Caribbean itineraries with ports of call that include Cozumel and Progreso, Mexico; Falmouth, Jamaica; and Grand Cayman.

Booking Information

Platinum, Gold or Silver Castaway Club members, can take advantage of the opportunity to book fall 2022 itineraries before they go on sale to the general public on June 24, 2021.

 

 

 

 

Everyone needs a fairytale. Contact Fairytale Dreams & Destinations™ Inc. to begin dreaming about tomorrow, today.

(905) 857.3611 | 1.855.FDMAGIC
10 McEwan Drive West Unit 3 Bolton ON L7E 1H1
www.fairytaledestinations.com

Story adapted from the official Disney Travel Agents Website

 


Fairytale Dreams & Destinations
Fairytale Dreams & Destinations™ Inc. exclusively sells the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Disneyland Resort in California, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort in South Carolina, Disney's Vero Beach Resort in Florida, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii and the Universal, Orlando Resort.

Fairytale Dreams and Destinations™ Inc. is an Ontario Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) authorized travel agency. TICO is an organization mandated by the Ontario Government to administer the Travel Industry Act, 2002 and an industry financed travel compensation fund. TICO Registration # 50010111
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