I am so excited to be joining the Family Fun Canada team as a travel writer for their website! I will be writing a monthly column featuring travel deals, unique travel experiences and different things related to travel for Canadian families! Look for my first article in the next couple of weeks featuring August travel deals and so much more to come!!
We're ready for our next Disney vacation!!
Half the fun of the Disney cruise vacation has been in the planning and preparations for the trip! Not only was I coordinating the travel details for a group of 25 people, I was immersed in Disney Cruise Line culture as I discovered there is a whole underground civilization of Disney Cruise addicts with activities and groups that are found only with Disney Cruise participants! In my "research" of Disney cruise vacation planning, there are all these extra "activities" and suggested "must do's" to make your vacation planning even more fun and magical for the trip! So out comes the creative juices of my brain to maximize the fun factor for our vacation...
What is a Fish Extender?? If you go online and look, you will find a plethora of Disney cruise forums, groups and lots of online communities devoted to Disney and Disney Cruises. There are specific online communities dedicated to each Disney cruise, specific to the location and the week of sail. You can find your sail date cruise on www.disboards.com and on Facebook if you search your cruise for the week and destination. Find your cruise and join the online community and you can interact with others who will be sailing with you on the same cruise. It's a great way to meet new people onboard and have fun interacting with each other before your trip! A Fish Extender group takes this a step further where participants can "opt in" and participate in a Fish Extender Gift Exchange with whoever wishes to participate. Usually someone will volunteer to organize and arrange the group details. You submit your cabin number (if known) and the names and ages of those in the cabin. For those who have chosen to participate in Fish Extender group, everyone buys or makes little gifts or crafts for those in the cabin. It's kind of like a "Secret Santa" exchange for all the participants. The gifts themselves do not have to be anything extravagant. There are lots of great ideas on Pinterest and Etsy for ideas. Crafty individuals make little souvenir items like key chains, hand sanitizer, personalized gifts or gifts with the cruise dates, etc.
The Fish Extender itself is a tool you hang outside your cabin door on the fish hook, hence the name "Fish Extender". Each Fish Extender is personalized with individual pouches for each member in the cabin room so people can leave little gifts for each person in the cabin. It's fun to go and check out different decks as you deliver your gifts secretly so as not to be discovered by other members! And it's a lot of fun as you return to your cabin and find little treats or gifts in your pouches! There are lots of fantastic ideas and really pretty Fish Extenders found on Pinterest and Etsy for the really crafty individuals. I don't sew, so I had to get creative with my Fish Extender!
Another fun activity to help with the Fish Extender groups is to personalize your cabin door! The cabin will be your home for the duration of the cruise (7 nights in our case) so you might as well make it yours for the week! By personalizing your cabin door, it makes it easier to find your cabin, for yourselves and for those who will be dropping off Fish Extender gifts. If you have young kids, it's also much easier for them to find the cabin when it's personalized as opposed to trying to remember the cabin number amongst long hallways of continuous plain cabin doors on both sides. The cabin doors are magnetic so it's easy to create some magnets to decorate your door while making it much easier to find! I also created magnetic photos of our family Disney vacations to decorate our door and personalize with our Disney family memories too!
Because we are travelling as a large group and central to any Disney vacation with a group is .... MATCHING T-SHIRTS!!
Another MUST DO activity is to collect autographs from all the characters onboard! You can either purchase or create your own autograph book or use a blank white pillowcase to collect autographs as a fantastic souvenir of the trip! If you don't want to run around all week on board collecting autographs, you can simply drop off your autograph book/item at Guest Services (with markers) at the beginning of your cruise then pick it up at the end of the cruise and your item will have all the character autographs on it without having to chase down characters all week! I chose to personalize a fabric tote as our souvenir and plan on collecting character autographs for it for our Disney Cruise souvenir item! I think it will look awesome! (Check back after the cruise and I will post the final outcome so you can see what it looks like!)
One of the unique activities on the Disney Wonder to Alaska is the Pixar Pals Party. It's a fun and interactive dance party with all the Pixar characters present and everyone is encouraged to dress up as their favourite Pixar characters! (Or a Disney character will also suffice!) Dress up, join the dance party and have some fun on deck!
We have decided to go as "The Incredibles" family and have created our costumes for our upcoming party!
I've still got lots of little things to do before our cruise including assembling all my Fish Extender gifts for other families in my Fish Extender group, (which I won't post so as not to spoil the surprise!). But it has been such a fun process along the way! Stay tuned for more details about the cruise in its complete glory as we set sail in a couple of weeks! Let me know if you've been on a Disney cruise and have any additional tips and tricks so we don't miss out on anything!
Disney California Adventure Park is the home of Cars Land, where Radiator Springs from the movie, "Cars" comes alive!! Walk into Cars Land and you feel like you've walked right into the movie itself!
Popular rides in Cars Land include Mater's Junkyard Jamboree and Luigi's Flying Tires. But the most popular attraction, Radiator Springs Racer is one you don't want to miss! You stroll through Radiator Springs in your car and then you get to race other cars through Ornament Valley!! Fast Passes are available for this attraction but they do run out quickly. We were there around 1pm and the Fast Passes were gone for the day. But the wait in line for this attraction is definitely worth it and is one attraction you definitely don't want to miss! If you get a Fast Pass for this, you can take your time and enjoy the other attractions, return during your Fast Pass designated time frame and get on the ride immediately!
There are so many rides and attractions you want to make sure you see and obtain Fast Passes wherever you can to guarantee that you can experience them all!
World of Color
Experience the night time spectacular show involving water, colour, fire and light, creating a fantasy of Disney and Pixar characters and their stories coming to life! Make sure you get a Fast Pass for the show if you want to get a premium location to watch the show. The Fast Pass distribution centre for the World of Color show is located by the Grizzly River Run ride and this Fast Pass does not count towards your daily limit. So make sure you get your World of Color Fast Pass first thing as you enter the park to ensure you get premium seating for the show. You can still watch the show without a Fast Pass in non-ticketing areas around Paradise Bay. You can also make dining package reservations at Ariel's Grotto, Carthay Circle Restaurant and Wine Country Trattoria, which include tickets for reserved viewing areas for the show.
Back from our recent Disneyland vacation last week and we're going through some serious Disney withdrawal! It's such a magical place where you can immerse yourself in all things Disney, enough to get your Disney "fix" without over doing it! This was a first time visit for my kids, and I'm glad I waited until my youngest was tall enough to go on "most" of the rides! It was well worth the wait as we were able to enjoy many of the "scarier" rides and roller coasters. The minimum height requirement for many of the rides is 40". There are a few that have 46" as the minimum height, with the larger roller coasters having 48" as the minimum height. Once you've crossed 48", you've hit the magic number and can go on every single ride!!
We chose the 3 day Park hopper pass which allows unlimited admission to both the Disneyland Park and Disney's California Adventure Park on a single day and gives the maximum amount of flexibility for access to both parks. Both parks are pretty big, but right across from each other so that it is very easy to access both parks in the same day.
Fast Passes are the way to go to ensure you get to experience the popular attractions and rides! Disneyland uses the paper Fast Pass system so you need to head to the Fast Pass Distribution area for the ride or attraction you wish to pick. Only 1 Fast Pass per person per park is permitted at one time. When the Fast Pass is used or the time has expired, you can obtain another Fast Pass for a different attraction. With a park hopper ticket, you can obtain a Fast Pass for Disneyland Park, head to California Adventure to get a Fast Pass for a ride there and effectively have 2 Fast Passes at the same time! But it is a lot of walking back and forth between 2 parks if you decide to do this! There are sufficient rides with decent wait times that you can wait in line for less busy attractions while holding a Fast Pass for busier ones. With a Fast Pass, you return to the attraction during the designated time within the 1 hour time frame and you can skip the lines and go straight onto the ride! Three day park hopper tickets also give you 1 Magic Morning, so that's one morning of early admission to the park before the park officially opens. This is a great option to go early before opening to check out the popular rides without the added crowds!
Fast Passes are available for the following rides: Indiana Jones Adventure, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin, Autopia, Space Mountain, Star Tours.
We also had the privilege of being in Disneyland during their 4th of July celebrations and we're so happy we did! It was worth braving the crowds to experience Disney's Celebration of America on July 4th!
Multi-tasker in life and business! Calgary mom of 2 spunky and hilariously goofy kids, running successful travel agency and consulting business! I love food, and I love to travel so join me in my adventures and let me help you with yours! Book your next vacation with confidence when you book with me at www.ReneeTsangTravel.com!