Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique...for the Princess (or Pirate) at sea.

+We got a glimpse at the Fantasy's Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique today! Here, your young cruiser can be transformed into a princess or pirate at sea by one of the boutique's Fairy Godmothers!
The salon is really fit for a princess, complete with comfortable "thrones" and full length mirrors.

With the purchase of a Castle Package, your princess can choose which princess she's like to become in the Boutique's dressing area...

Pricing at the Boutique is as follows:
The Coach Package-includes choice of a hair style, shimmering makeup, face gem, cinch sack, and princess sash-$54.95

The Crown Package-All of The Coach Package plus nails-$59.95

The Castle Package-All of The Crown Package, plus choice of costume, coordinating wand, tiara and shoes-$184.85...choices shown below...
The Fantasy (exclusive to The Disney Fantasy)-All of the Crown Package plus tutu, sparkling t-shirt and head band-$119.95
Under The Sea (exclusive to Disney Fantasy)-your choice of swimsuit, cover up, vibrant sunblock application, floral clip, necklace and nail polish-$99.95

Boys and Girls can enjoy one of the Pirates League Packages-$34.95 for the basic, and $99.95 if you want a full costume.

If you've got a large budget and your child really wants to get into character, you can purchase The Royal Sea package. For just $595.00, your little princess will get a Rolling Royal Trunk, plus three makeover experiences including The Castle Package, Under The Sea package, and The Pirates League package. Plus she will receive a Boutique frame with a photo of the Fairy Godmother and a special invitation with a glass slipper necklace and a keepsake glass slipper.

As you can see, there is plenty of opportunity for kids to be pampered on The Disney Fantasy in the Bibbidi Bobbidi's their own private spa! Be sure to make reservations, as appointment times fill up fast! Check back for new entries as we continue to explore the Fantasy! And don't forget to enter our giveaway...time is running out!


Disney Fantasy: First Look

Greetings from Port Canaveral! We just caught our first live look of the Fantasy. The Fantasy looks much like her sister, the Dream. Both are impressive in size and appearance!
The lobby is just as impressive as the other ships. I thought it would be hard to top the art deco style of the Disney Dream, but the Fantasy's art nouveau flair does not disappoint.

\A few guests had already found the pool deck, and were already relaxing by one of the Fantasy's pools before the Sail Away party! Check out the AquaDuck surrounding the pool deck!
Keep checking back for more photos and information from Disney's newest ship! And don't forget to "like" us on the left side of your screen and comment on some posts to qualify for our giveaway!


We're leavin' on a cruise ship....

Don't know if we'll be back again!

Of course we'll be back, full of information and pictures to share, but for now, we're focused on going! We are so excited to have the chance to do a preview cruise on the Fantasy, and we want to be prepared. As we were packing and making preparations, we thought it would be fun to share some of our tips and tricks for getting ready for a Disney cruise! Although we could go on and on with tons of info on this topic, we'll keep it to the very important basics...for now! Although you can apply these packing tips to most of the cruise itineraries Disney has to offer, these are great tips especially for the 3, 4 and 5 night Bahamian itineraries. Obviously if you go to Alaska, you might pack a little differently, as you would for a 7-8 night cruise as well.

1. Clothes. Don't forget these. They are very important. When choosing what to wear on your cruise, think cool and comfortable. On deck, casual is great. For the dining room, Disney requests that guests do not wear shorts or swimsuits. No sleeveless shirts here guys. Jeans are fine unless it is "Dress-Up Night" in which case many men like to wear jackets and women kick it up a notch with dressier outfits as well. If you are dining at Remy, jackets are required for men and women should wear dresses or pantsuits. Also, do not forget your pirate attire if you want to get dressed up for "Pirate Night." Do not forget your underwear, swimsuits, cover ups, a waterproof jacket just in case in gets cooler in the night and/or rains, and any workout clothes you might want. Hats and visors come in mighty handy on these sunny vacations too!

***Attention Ladies: Although those short flowing skirts/sundresses can be totally super cute, unless you have on totally super cute underwear that you want everyone to see, you might want to avoid them. One gust of wind on deck, and you'll be pulling a Marilyn Monroe, which I don't recommend, unless of course, you actually LOOK like Marilyn Monroe. Personally, I will be sticking to the capri pants and non-flowing sundresses. ***

2. Toiletries. You know what you need here. Disney does provide H2O Plus Spa products, including shampoo, conditioner, lotion and facial soap in your stateroom. But some extras to think about might be anti-nausea aids and pain relievers...not to mention any other prescription or otc medicines you might need for the trip. I'll add sunblock here too-bring tons.

3. Electronic-type items. Cameras. Extra batteries and memory cards. Ipods, tablets, cell phones, laptops, chargers, etc. (There is an extra charge on board for internet connection, and you may want to check with your cell phone company before opting to use your phone at sea). You also might want to bring a sound machine if you need white noise to help you sleep. There is an Ipod docking station in the stateroom, but for you fellow Android users, you might want to throw in an auxiliary cable (or your own player).

4. Carry-On bag. This is very important, because once you board the ship, it may be a few hours before you see your luggage. It is a good idea to carry a swimsuit and a change of clothes that would be suitable for dinner, as well as your camera (there will be plenty of great photo ops before/as soon as you board, and you don't want to miss them). Carry on any medications you may need as well as some sunblock, sunglasses, and a hat. Snacks, water bottles, juice boxes, etc. are also a good idea. And although Disney does a great job of entertaining guests in the port while they're waiting to board, a little something to entertain the kiddos might not be a bad idea just in case. Your carry-on luggage is also where you will need to place any alcohol you want to bring on the ship. Disney allows you to bring your own (awesome money saver and perk for adults), but it has to be in your carry-on. All of your paperwork and documentation (listed below) must be with you as well.

5. Paperwork/Documentation: You will need your cruise documentation including your cruise confirmation number as well as your government issued ID. Although a passport is not required to board the ship (you can use your license and birth certificate instead), we always recommend that our clients have passports in the unlikely event of an emergency.

Well, that about covers the important basics (plus a little more). We have many many more tips and tricks to help make your cruise a great one, and if we shared them all here, we'd be out of blog material. Don't forget that in order to celebrate the inaugural sailing of the Disney Fantasy, we are doing our first Sail Disney giveaway! Click here to visit the giveaway blog and enter!


Sail Disney Giveaway: Help us Celebrate the Inaugural Sailing of the Fantasty!

We are so excited about the Disney Fantasy's Inaugural sailing this month that we want to share the joy with our very first give away! You can win your choice of Disney Cruise Vinylmation AND a $25 gift card or a TMC Travel voucher worth $50. See all the details in the link below.

We are thrilled to be sailing on a preview cruise on the Fantasy this Friday. As soon as we are on board we will be busy discovering all the newest ship in Disney's fleet has to offer. We will be updating this site with a lot of great information, and lots of great photos. Stay tuned!

You can enter our contest by liking us on Facebook, liking TMC Travel on Facebook, or commenting on / liking individual blog posts...or better yet, do it all so you can have multiple entries.

We will draw a winner on March 31st to celebrate the maiden voyage. So start clicking and keep clicking! And please share us with a friend!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

"Duck in, Fly out" on the AquaDuck

Are you thinking about a Disney cruise, but afraid you'll miss the thrill of the rides? Who says the rides are only at Disney World? If you're cruising on the Disney Dream or Fantasy and you're more than 42" tall (54" to ride solo), you too can enjoy the thrilling twists and turns of the first water coaster at sea: Disney's AquaDuck. This one of a kind "water coaster" not only sends riders plummeting down, but shooting back up (hence the term water coaster and not water slide). Riders also go flying through one of the ships' funnels and even teetering out oven the open sea and back. The ride is 765 feet long, and it provides some awesome views of the ocean and your ship's pools and decks.

Of course, all fun things usually come with a few warnings. Since people of all different ages and stages enjoy the AquaDuck (that's right Grandma, there's no sitting this one out), there's a possibility of some long lines, so try to ride during some of the less crowded times. During dinner hours the lines are shorter, as well as while the ship is in port. Also, you will get WET. I'm not talking about a damp rear end...I mean soaking wet. Don't even think you're going to hop off this ride and head into the dining room for dinner. If the weather is bad or it is too windy, the AquaDuck may be closed.

So even if you share one of my personal favorite cruising activities: no activity at all, the AquaDuck is not to be missed. Go ahead and ride a few won't even have to carry your tube back to the top. It's definitely worth abandoning that poolside lounge chair...for awhile anyway.


Virtual Portholes

I'll admit it - inside staterooms used to sort of scare me. I mean all that dark and no window? I was just never convinced I could stay in a room without a window for several nights while on a cruise. Well, leave it to Disney to come up with a virtual porthole so an inside room becomes not only affordable but also desirable!

Virtual portholes are new to the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy. My husband and I stayed in a virtual porthole room on our 4 night cruise on the Disney Dream in Sept. We picked it because it was the most affordable room and because I was curious about this Virtual Porthole.

So what is it? Basically it's a LED TV screen right over the bed. The screen shows you real -time what is going on outside the ship. If your screen faces aft you see what's going on at the back of the ship and if it faces forward you see what's going on in front of the ship. This is Disney after all so every now and again a familiar Disney scene might pass through your screen. We saw Rapunzel's lanterns and Jasmine & Aladdin fly across our screen. The best part about this was you can turn it off whenever you want. When we went to bed we turned it off our room was pretty dark. In the morning, we'd turn it on when we woke up so we could see the daylight.

I love the concept. It definitely makes an inside room not scary at all. In fact, I'd chose it again and again!


Extra Costs of a Disney Cruise...OR How much is this REALLY going to cost me?

Bahama Mama?  Yes. Please!
So, you finally decided to take the plunge and go on a Disney Cruise!  If you are like me, then one of your top questions is "How much is this REALLY going to cost me?"  You know the dollar amount that is on the bottom of your confirmation, but you have a pretty strong suspicion that that is not the true bottom line.  And you are right.  There are a few extra costs associated with the cruise that you really need to factor into your budget.  The good news, is that food is not one of them!  The other good news is that while Mickey has several ways to tempt money from your wallet, you can have a great time with out spending much extra.  I can honestly say that unlike other cruise lines, I do not feel "nickle and dimed" after leaving a Disney Cruise.

So what are the extra costs associated with a cruise?  I break things up into to 2 categories:  The Negotiables and the Non-Negotiables.

The Non-Negotiables
  • Transportation Costs to the Region - Will you be flying into the Orlando or Melbourne Airports early in the morning and hoping your flights are on time?  Are you within a reasonable drive of the port?  Will you stay in a hotel the night before you cruise to eliminate transportation variables?  Remember:  The ship will leave with or without you, so a good arrival plan is critical!
  • Parking or Shuttle to the Port - If you are flying in, remember to factor in the cost of Disney's Magical Express, a private car service, or even a car rental to get to the port.  If you are driving, remember to factor in the parking fees of $15.00 per day for any part of the day.  We can also help you arrange a pre-cruise stay over at a local hotel that will provide parking for the duration of your cruise and a shuttle to the port.
  • Standard Gratuities - While gratuities on a Disney ship are always at your discretion, I know you will want to be sure to thank the incredible crew that provided you such great service.  Disney recommends a total of $12 per person per day to cover gratuities for your Dining Team and your Stateroom Host/Hostess.  You can prepay these gratuities before you go, or you can arrange it while on board.  They will give you specifics as to the breakdown, or stay tuned to this blog for more information.  I honestly felt a little guilty only tipping $12 for the level of service I received. so I was glad I had a little extra cash on hand to tuck in the tip envelopes provided!
  • Other Gratuities - Again, I hesitate to include gratuities as a "non negotiable" because tipping is always at your discretion.  Since tipping is customary, and in most cases very well deserved, I am including it here.  If you order room service, remember that the kind face that delivers your food is not part of your Dining Team. A tip for their promptness would be appreciated.  Technically, part of the extra cost of Palo and Remy includes a $5 tip that is shared amongst the manager and waitstaff.  If you feel that your level of service exceeds a $5 tip, please feel free to leave more. A 15% gratuity is automatically added for alcoholic beverage purchases.  You may wish to include gratuities for your spa services, excursions, etc.  
The Negotiables
  • Excursion Costs - There is a huge area of budgetary discretion when considering excursion costs.  You can stroll off the ship and explore your port city or Castaway Cay on foot and not spend a single dime.  Or, you can go for a top shelf beach day at Castaway Cay by renting a Family Cabana for $499, followed by an $80 per person parasailing adventure, and ending the day with a $475 Couple's Choice Spa Time.  In the Bahamas, for example, you can wander around and see the sights and barter for inexpensive souvenirs in the Straw Market or you can head off to Atlantis for the Ultimate Dolphin Trainer experience for $459 per person.  And, of course, there are plenty of high end jewelry stores ready to tempt you!
  • Spa Services - You can skip the spa entirely, or take advantage of a wide variety of services.  You can do the inexpensive Rainforest Experience and enjoy the saunas, sensory showers, hot tubs, and the super comfortable heated tile loungers (LOVE those!)  for about $15 for the day.  If you and your significant other want to splurge, you can do the 150 minute Ultimate Indulgence package for couples.  Of course, there are a variety of services in between.  You can add gratuities at the time of check in or purchase.
  • Beverages - There is a free beverage station on board providing soft drinks 24 hours a day.  Soft drinks are included with each meal at no additional cost.  Traditional breakfast beverages delivered with your breakfast room service order are available at no additional cost.  All other beverages will be charged to your stateroom.  This includes any alcoholic beverages served at the pool, at dinner, in a bar, from room service, or at Castaway Cay.  This also includes any non alcoholic beverage - smoothie or soft dink  - served at the pool, in a bar, from room service or at Castaway Cay.  Gratuities will be automatically added to beverage purchases.
  • Special Meals - Castaway Cay is considered an extension of the ship, so lunch and snacks are available there at no additional cost.  If you are doing excursions in port, be sure to check to see if lunch is included. If not, plan to return to eat on the ship or check out a local restaurant.  Remy and Palo are the adult only  restaurants available on board.  There is an up charge to dine at these restaurants.  Candy and special snacks are also available outside the theaters, for an additional fee.
  • Souvenirs - Again, this is an area with a huge amount of discretion.  You can skip the shops entirely, but let's face it, that is not likely to happen! You can find cute mementos from pens, to magnets, to key chains for a few dollars...and it goes up from there.  We recommend that you set a budget and stick to it.  Giving children a preset spending limit is also a great way to keep a rein on your budget.  We like to shop early in our cruise, but buy a little later in our cruise. 
  • Internet and Phone Calls - We recommend you totally "unplug" and enjoy your cruise, but if you are unable to do so, you can pay for internet use by the minute or purchase a package of minutes.  The internet is slow, so "surfing" is not very practical.  If you must send and receive email, log in, download and log out.  Once you are logged out, type any necessary responses and log back in to send.  Ship to shore calls are also possible, but they are expensive.  Roaming cost for your cell phone can also be expensive.  Find out what your options are before you go.
  • Photographs - Take all the photos you wish with your own camera, but if you wish to take advantage of the professional photographers on board, include photographs in the budget.  Disney photographers will take pictures in the dining room, at character meet and greets, and various other locations on board.  While not inexpensive, a photograph of your entire family all spiffed up and having a great time can be priceless!
Disney does a great job of letting you cruise your way.  You can have a fantastic time and not spend any extra money besides the gratuities once you are on board. (And if you pre-pay your gratuities, you can leave the ship without one extra dollar spent!)  While that is certainly possible, it is not practical for most families.  So set a budget and make some smart choices...or don't and splurge!  The good news is that it is totally within your control!