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Walt Disney World – Fall Into Magic

Fall into Magic at Walt Disney World

The Fall is our favorite time of year to visit Walt Disney World! Disney has a special  “Fall Into Magic” promotion which is available September 3 – 8, 2018.  This package includes a Welcome to Fall Dinner at Epcot, Nighttime Journey aboard Kilimanjaro Safari and a special River of Lights showing, two hours exclusive access to the new Toy Story Land, and tickets to Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween Party! Contact us to quote this special offer for you.

With Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween Party, Food and Wine Festival at Epcot, cooler temperatures, and the kids Fall Break week in school, it makes it the perfect time for our family to travel.

Walt Disney World gives you fantastic packages to give you an All Inclusive feel for your trip when you add on a Disney Dining Plan option to your Disney Vacation Package.  When you stay on property, you really get immersed into the full magic of Walt Disney World!

Contact us today to help you plan your next Family Getaway!

Our Favorite Travel Items

We get asked often, what are our favorite items for travel to make things easier traveling with kids. Here’s a list of our favorite travel items we’ve purchased from Amazon over the years that we now consider must haves for any trip.

We found a great luggage set on Amazon, the Samsonite Winfield 2 3 piece Hardside Set. It’s been a great set and we’ve used it often!  It’s been to numerous hotels, cruises, airplanes, back of cars, bell hops, magical express, transfer services, and more!  We’ve  had zero issues with them!  Plus, we love to bright colors so they cannot be missed!

We purchased some packing cubes to help keep the boys clothes separated better and to keep us more organized while traveling.  Our youngest wears many of our oldest old clothing, so sometimes it get confusing on what shirt belongs to which kid.  We purchased 2 of these sets for our family of 4, and were all 4 able to pack in these for a 9 day trip to Disney!  I did wash while on the trip, but it was more for underclothes and bathing suits. I HIGHLY suggest getting packing cubes for any travel.

We have used a digital hanging luggage scale  for a few years now, and it’s always spot on for the weight of our bags.  It’s so much easier than stepping on the scale and then carrying the bag on the scale again, etc.  Plus, it’s great for your return trip to make sure your bags are under weight before you get to the airport!

I grabbed my crossbody sling bag a few years ago, and I now use it for everything!  I’m sure you’ve seen it in many of our pictures!  I love the pocket on the strap that can hold sunglasses or cell phones.  Plus it’s so easy to store all of our rain gear, snacks, fans, and more!

When visiting Florida, you know it’s going to rain at some point during the day, especially during the summer months!  Rain gear that is compact and can easily be tossed into your bag is so important.  Ponchos are great for the unexpected quick rain showers.  Grab these from the dollar store before leaving home and keep these in your bag the WHOLE trip! You never know when the unexpected downpour will happen.  We do prefer to have some good rain jackets with us too that will fit and feel comfortable. We learned our kids are not a fan of the oversized ponchos that wont stay around their faces well.  We now all have good rain jackets that keep us dry and don’t fit us like a trash bag.  Also, make sure to bring 2 pair of shoes that you can wear to walk around the park.  If your shoes get soaked, you want to let them dry out before wearing them again to protect your feet.  Blisters are no fun at Disney, but we also pack these Blister Bandaids to help cushion and protect our feet.  Make sure your shoes are broken in well before doing a lot of walking and make sure your socks fit with those shoes well.  I may be the only one this happens to, but some socks work better with some shoes than others.

When you head to Disney in the summertime, these cooling cloths are amazing! No way I would go to any park in the summer without them!

To continue on with the cooling feature, we grabbed these Mobile Phone Fan that plugs right into your phone!  These quickly became a favorite travel item since our phones were out often grabbing more Fast Passes or snapping some pictures. Plus the size of these fans is so small compared to many of the others. Only downfall is there is no way to clip them onto the outside of a bag.

We are on our phones a lot checking fast passes, ordering from mobile ordering, getting more fast passes, taking pictures, viewing photo pass pictures, and more.  As much as we try to unplug from the outside world, we are plugged in heavy to Disney! You do have WIFI all throughout the park, which helps on data, but we still drain phone batteries quickly.  We make sure to always have a Battery Backup with us in the parks!  You can also purchase a Fuel Rod in the park and exchange it when it’s empty.  However at the end of the day, many of the Fuel Rod locations are out of charged Fuel Rods.  We prefer to carry our own.  I cannot suggest this item enough as a MUST have for a Disney trip now.

Are you looking for a way to surprise your kids for a trip? Thinking of doing a scavenger hunt?  We purchased this Southwest Plane to tell the kids we would be flying to Disney!

Our children have outgrown strollers, but there are many different styles of stroller on Amazon that will surely meet your needs for your trip!  Make sure you have a rain cover for your stroller.

We will continue working on this list and adding our favorite travel items to it!  What are you must have travel items for you family?

***Affiliate links are included in this post with Amazon.***

Family Getaways would love to help you book your next Vacation!  You pay nothing for us to help you book and plan your next Family Getaways! Contact Us Today!

Did you receive a Phone Call about a “Free Cruise”

Free Cruise Robot

Did you receive a phone call about a “Free Cruise” between July of 2009 and March of 2014? If so, you could be eligible for up to $900!  We remembered getting these phone calls, so I checked out our phone numbers and sure enough, our old land line number was included!  I remember when I answered the phone and it was the giant horn blaring in my ear! Of course, I got an instant smile on my face, because if you’ve ever cruised it makes you happy, but I certainly didn’t want to talk to a telemarketer. I don’t remember how fast I hung up, but I don’t remember anymore of the call after that.

You can check out your phone numbers and submit via online or mail, if your number was listed. – Charvat v. Carnival et al Class Members who wish to file a claim must complete this form online or by mail postmarked no later than November 3, 2017.


Since we had 1 number included, we can get $300.  Since we already have a cruise planned, I’m planning on rolling that $300 right towards our October 2018 cruise!  However, if you don’t have a trip planned, it’s a perfect deposit amount now… sorry $300 is not enough for a “Free Cruise”.  Let us know if you were on the list and how you plan on spending your $300 – $900 that you weren’t expecting!  People always ask us when you get the best deal on cruises, and most of the time, it’s when you book early! Of course, we can help you plan any vacation you would like to take – Disney, Hawaii, Alaska, Cruises, All Inclusive, etc.

We would love the opportunity to help you plan your next Family Getaway. We can help you book and plan your trip at no additional cost to you. Contact Us Today!

How we saved money paying off our Walt Disney World vacation

Save on Walt Disney World Vacation

Want to learn how we saved money paying off our Walt Disney World Vacation? Here are some tips for buying gift cards to save some extra money on your trip.

One of the best feelings is getting your Walt Disney World vacation paid off in full, but an even better feeling is all the cheap gas you can get in the process.  We are lucky enough to live in an area that has a Kroger to take advantage of their Gift Card 4 times the Fuel points promotions they run.

For each $500 Disney Gift Card we purchase, we get 2,000 Fuel Points.  2,000 Fuel Points = $2.00 per Gallon for up to 35 gallons of gas!

We filled up both cars for $1.27 recently, 26 gallons worth of gas! This amount of gas would have cost us $53.30.  Filling up 5 times with the discounts = $266.50! As you can see, the savings really adds up!

So I know what you are thinking… I don’t have that kind of money to buy the gift cards when they run the 4x’s the fuel point promotion.  We used to think this too, and never took advantage of the promotion.  However, if you put your money into savings the way you would usually make payments towards your vacations, you can do it!

If you have never booked a Walt Disney World Vacation, you may not realize what all can be rolled into your booking, especially when saying on resort!   Your booking can include your Room, Tickets, Meal Plan, and Memory Maker!  When you book your reservation, you pay a $200 deposit.  The remaining balance is due 30 days prior to your vacation, which gives you plenty of time to take advantage of Kroger Fuel Points!

The Disney Gift Cards work at Walt Disney World, Walt Disney Land, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Store, and Disney Store Online.  Plus the Disney Gift Cards can be Activated for any amount from $15 to $500! Kroger also has other vacation gift cards, like Carnival, that you can apply this to as well.  They have 100’s of options to help you save on items you already planning on purchasing, so why not take advantage of the fuel points!!

Family Getaways would love to help you book your next Vacation!  You pay nothing for us to help you book and plan your next Family Getaways! Contact Us Today!

Total Solar Eclipse August 21, 2017

Total Solar Eclipse USA image

We are lucky enough to be in the direct path of the total solar eclipse.  Our plan is to head to a local park first thing in the morning to enjoy the day as a family.  The kids do have school this day, but they have already been teaching the kids a lot about the eclipse prior to the event, and we’ve decided to use a parent excuse day. We all will have some Eclipse Shirts too! Some of our local stores have some cute ones! If you are in the path, or heading to the path of Total Eclipse, make sure to check the stores early in the weekend as I know items will sale out.  We all want one that we can certainly re-wear after the date of the event.

Total Solar Eclipse August 21, 2017


Here are some items we’ve prepared to pack for the day

1) Solar Eclipse Glasses – Many areas around us are sold out.  Thankfully we grabbed ours a month ago.  Amazon does still have some, but the price point is going up.  Check around your local stores, libraries, science museums, etc. You can find reputable vendors for solar filters and viewers here.

2) Sunscreen – We will be outside all day and so excited about all of the events.  I know we think about sunscreen at the pool, lake, and beach, but it will be just as important.

3) Water – Make sure you are staying hydrated for the day!

4) Snacks and Picnic Lunch – I don’t want any of us getting hangry.  Plus, I think the kids will want to snack a lot while waiting for the solar eclipse to begin! Think SUNchips, MOONpie, SUNDrop, SUNnyD, ECLIPSE gum, Milky Way candy bars, etc!  The kids will think you were so creative!

5) Chairs – We will be outside all day and we will all get tired from playing!  Make sure to bring a chair, picnic blanket, etc. to stay comfortable.

6) Shade tent or large umbrella – of course this will be put up when the solar eclipse begins, but for the morning prior to that, we are planning on taking advantage of as much shade as possible to stay cool. Also a great way for little ones to take an early nap before the event begins.

7) Water Misters/Fans – This is really important for little ones! Especially if it will be a 90 degree plus day like you can usually expect in August.

8) Sunglasses – You should not look at the sun with your regular sun glasses on of course, however, you should still protect your eyes when you are not looking at the sun.

9) Games – Bring some games that will keep your kids entertained while waiting.  We will bring our cornhole, giant jenga, baseball gloves, frisbee, etc. to keep us all entertained!

10) Camera – While you should take in the day and the event as much as possible without on your electronics all day, you do want to remember these family memories.  This may be the only time you or your kids see a total solar eclipse.  Make sure to document those memories to cherish in the future.


Ultimately, be ready to make some great family memories together during this once in a lifetime event!

We would love to help you plan any future vacations for your family! Let us help you plan your perfect Family Getaway! CONTACT US HERE


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Visiting Gatlinburg – How to Save on Tickets and Attractions!

Gatlinburg is a fantastic family weekend getaway location.  Gatlinburg has so many different activities and attractions for the family to enjoy.  So many clients reach out to us asking how to save, and our secret is ReserveGatlinburg. Gatlinburg and the surrounding area has attractions everywhere you look that cost $15 a person, $25 a person, $50 a person, etc. The cost adds up for a family!

Here is a list of Tickets and Attractions you can order on ReserveGatlinburg .

Dollywood & Dollywood Splash Country
Dollywood Dixie Stampede
All Ripley’s Activities
Guinness World Record Adventure
NASCAR Speedcart – Sevierville
Tree Tops Ropes Course
The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel
The Tomb Escape Game
Titanic Museum Attraction
Outdoor Gravity Park
Putt-Putt Golf, LazerTag,
Scenic Helicopter Tours
Tennessee Smokies Baseball
Country Tonite Christmas Show
Murder Mystery Dinner Show
The Comedy Barn

As you can see, Gatlinburg offers so much entertainment.  Let us help you find a great hotel in the middle of it all, or a cabin in the mountains to let you just sit back and take in the breathtaking scenery! The best part about ReserveGatlinburg is you can grab your tickets from your phone once you are there and have decided what you really want to do.  The tickets are sent to you via email for most of the attractions. Plus, we can help you plan before you leave for your trip as well.

Visiting Orlando – How to Save on tickets!

Orlando has more family activities than anywhere else in the Southeast! When you visit, it feels like you are being nickel and dimed with activity you want to accomplish during your trip.  We have used ReserveOrlando to grab tickets for different activities.

You get the tickets via email so you can grab the tickets while you are on vacation.  We have ordered tickets while in the hotel room the night before after the kids have shown interest in wanting to do a certain activity. We have been really pleased using ReserveOrlando!  Of course, we are here to help you book any of your activities, plan your trips, and help with anything you need. You can also do this completely on your own.

You can get discount tickets for:

  • Walt Disney World
  • Universal Studios
  • Legoland
  • Bush Gardens Tampa
  • Sea World
  • Kennedy Space Center
  • Adventure Island
  • Coca Cola Orlando Eye
  • Gatorland plus tons of other Zoos and Aquariums
  • iFly Indoor Skydiving
  • WonderWorks – Orlando
  • Ripley’s Believe It or Not
  • Everglade Tours and Airboats
  • ATV Experiences
  • Bowling and Putt-Putt
  • Dinner Shows
  • Hotels
  • … AND so many more options! Check out ReserveOrlando to get your tickets!

ReserveOrlando is an affiliate link for us so we do receive a small commission off your purchases.  We appreciate the support!

Our First Disney Mail

We recently booked our Fall Break 2017 Disney trip and we received in our Disney Mail today! Check out our video sharing with you how Disney is the master of marketing and making every family feel special!

I did make an error at the end of the video about when we could book our Fast Passes! We booked another Disney with their Fast Pass date starting in the middle of July and I just got those confused.  Ignore that part, I should have just trusted Disney 🙂


Why Buy Travel Insurance?

Travel Insurance is something we didn’t use to add to our vacations.  We thought it was a waste of money and wouldn’t really cover ‘us’.  Have you ever felt that way?  Now that I’m educated on everything it does cover, we will never travel without it! Even if you have already booked your trip, we can still quote you up a travel insurance policy for you. It’s extremely affordable and really helps cover you from some many unknowns.  The best part about using Travel Guard is you are covered from the time you leave your doorstep to the time you return home!

Check out all the ways you could be covered when you purchase travel insurance!  Plus, purchase within 15 days of booking to receive the best coverage! – Why Buy Travel Insurance Travel Guard



Disney Holiday Parties for 2017 Announced

Disney has released the dates for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party for 2017.

The tickets are not available for purchase just yet, but will be soon.  These events are an extra cost, and the price usually increases as the event date gets closer.  Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party now starts in August! This is great for people with Fall Breaks in the month of September to enjoy the festivities during their visit.

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween includes Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular, Themed Fireworks Show, Boo-to-You Halloween Parade, The Cadaver Dans Barbershop Quartet, and much more!  Plus you can add In-Room Celebration items to your resort and get some extra boo-tiful pictures added with your Disney PhotoPass!

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party begins on November 8th and continues until December 22.  This is the perfect way to get into the Christmas Spirit with Mickey and Santa!  Cinderella’s Castle Shimmers, Joyful Music fills the air, Disney attractions are in holiday themes, and Disney Characters don their most festive attire!

Let us know if you would like to plan your Disney Trip to enjoy either (or both) of these amazing events!