Disney Getaway

Looking for a Disney Getaway?

Disney Getaway

Are you looking for a Disney Getaway?

The months of January and February are typically slower to visit Walt Disney World than other months throughout the year. Of course, there are exceptions for major holidays and so forth, but as a general rule, traveling to Walt Disney World in those months tends to be a little less stressful with regards to crowds and dining reservations. Because of this, if you act now, you may be able to plan out a quick Disney getaway on fairly short notice!

When the calendar rolls over to March and April, though, the crowds start to pick back up.  March and April are traditionally some of the busiest times to visit Walt Disney World because there are so many school systems out at some point during those months for Spring Break. Factor in, as well, the Easter holiday, and it amounts to a large contingent of park goers.

Despite the potential concerns over the crowds that you might expect to encounter in March and April, I still believe that a great trip can be planned out for you and your family during those months.  Here are a few things I recommend you consider in your planning process.

Consider doing the quick-service dining plan instead of the full Disney dining plan, if you wish to have a dining plan.

By forgoing the need for so many dining reservations, you will allow yourself to be able to navigate more easily because you aren’t tied to a particular park because of a dining reservation.

If you are a Disney veteran, consider purchasing the park hopper add-on.

Normally, I don’t push the park hopper add-on for any of the Disney tickets because predominantly, people don’t hop from park to park as much as they think they will. However, if you are going at a busy time, being able to park hop may be just the ticket between a good time at Disney and a not-so-good time at Disney.

If you do want a dining reservation, consider eating at a resort restaurant.

While the parks have a ton of great restaurants available to eat at, there are just as many — if not more — great restaurants at the Disney resorts or at Disney Springs. If you do have a desire for a sit down meal, consider eating at a resort restaurant. However, use caution. If you are at a very busy park, such as the Magic Kingdom on Christmas Day, if you leave the park, you may not get back in because of capacity issues. Generally speaking, though, more often than not the other parks are not at capacity even if the Magic Kingdom is.

Take your time, exercise patience, and breath.

If you are taking in the parks in March or April, expect crowds, and be prepared for them. If you do that, you may find that you will be pleasantly surprised at just how much you can get done in a day. I was at Disneyland for the 60th Anniversary on July 17, 2015, and I was totally amazed by the amount of rides we were able to enjoy despite the crowd levels. Same thing for the Magic Kingdom on the 40th Anniversary.

Lastly, use your travel consultant — they can be a big help!

Don’t feel like you need to take care of all of the planning yourself. Reach out to a great travel consultant, like those of us with Pixie Vacations. It is our job to help our clients make the memories while we take the stress away from their planning. If you want me to look at some pricing for a potential trip for you and your family, reach out to me. You can do so using my quote request page, or you can call me at 919-606-6725, email me at mike@pixievacations.com, or send me a message from my Facebook Page. For any new bookings of $2,000 or more I always reward my clients with at least a $25 Disney Gift Card. Let me know if I can help you check off something from your to-do list for next year!

DoubleTree

Hotel Review: DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando

DoubleTree

The entrance to the DoubleTree Suites at Disney Springs

Over Thanksgiving, my family was invited to stay with our friends Sheila, Randy, and Jagan at the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando — Disney Springs Area hotel.  We had an incredible time, and I wanted to let you all know about the hotel and what my thoughts were for staying there.

From a location standpoint, the DoubleTree is considered “off-property” — but it appears that some on-property perks will be extended to off-property hotels, such as allowing FastPass+ selections at 60 days instead of 30 days. However, despite it’s off-property location, it is literally minutes from Disney Springs — and on a good day when I wasn’t dealing with a pinched nerve in my leg, we would have walked there for our dinner reservation.

Our room was on the 7th floor, room number 703, and featured two queen beds, a queen bed pullout sofabed, a kitchenette, and a single bathroom off of the main bedroom.  For the six of us, we had plenty of space, although I think having a split bathroom would be a better way to herd the six of us through the process of getting ready for the parks each day. Here’s a few pictures of the room.

DoubleTree

The sofabed opened up for the kids to sleep in.

DoubleTree

This picture is of the sink in the bathroom.

DoubleTree

The kitchenette features a sink, microwave, and mini-refrigerator.

DoubleTree

Two queen beds occupy the bedroom.

Not pictured is a space with a table for applying makeup or working on your computer. The beds were incredibly comfortable, and we all slept very well each night.  I’ve been told that this room actually could accommodate up to eight people and that two rollaway beds would be used in a case like that. Personally, I think eight in the room would be a bit much, but that’s just me.

For amenities, Hilton Honors customers can connect to the wireless for free, and for those visiting the parks, they have shuttles that run every 30 minutes to the different parks. We drove to the parks each day because our friends had parking privileges with their annual passes, but keep that in mind if you wish to drive to the parks because it will cost you $20 a day to park otherwise.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton, and will not be averse to staying there again in the future. My first preference is to stay on property, but if something prevents you from doing so, give this hotel a try. You will not be disappointed!

God's Got This

Prayers for the Week – God’s Got This

God's Got This

7for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. ~ 2Timothy 1:7 (ESV)

Hello everyone, and thank you for joining us in our weekly prayers for the week post.  Last week I spent the week in Orlando at a training session for my travel agent business, and returned home last night.  I was supposed to return home on Friday evening, but a security incident at the airport caused me to miss my connecting flight and as a result my flight was rescheduled. Briefly what happened was a battery exploded at the airport, and it caused a panic because people thought it was a gunshot. That caused an evacuation of the terminal, and then everyone had to go back through security again.

Throughout all of that, though, the terminal was calm, people did what had to be done, and really no one that I encountered seemed angry or let their temper get the best of them. In honesty, it surprised me that more people didn’t get angry at the mass chaos that was going on but I commended one mom who was telling her child that they had to walk back to the terminal to be rechecked.  She was calm and was explaining to her child that we needed to do that for safety reasons.  Many people could have been angry at this time, but like she said to me, getting angry over the circumstances wouldn’t help — it’s not like getting angry would cause them to change their minds about going through security again.

Throughout it all, the overwhelming thought I had time and time again was that we had nothing to fear; that God’s got this and that He would take care of His children. That was a great thought to have and I relied on it throughout. God’s got this — and He’s got all of our prayer requests taken care of as well, so please continue reading with me our prayer requests and praises.

Prayer Requests & Praises

  • We have an anonymous prayer request: Matt and I are pregnant, but things are not going as they should. I’ve been to the doctor all week for blood work to monitor my HcG levels, and when they should have doubled in numbers, they’ve only increased by 100 miU/mL.
    I’m scheduled to return tomorrow for more bloodwork, and we really need your prayers. I already feel God’s plan working out as He intends it. But there are challenges present in either outcome, and they’re hard to comprehend.
  • Mrs. Lucas has a praise for her friend Madge that we had been praying for: I have a praise! My friend Madge, who had heart surgery and was in ICU for a week. She is finally in Rehab and sounds great! She is getting stronger everyday! Madge and I appreciate your powerful prayers! God Bless!
  • We have an anonymous prayer request: So tomorrow we take our 5 month old to see a neurosurgeon…he has what has been diagnosed as craniosynostosis. This is where at least one of the sutures in the skull closes prematurely (they usually close around 2-3yrs of age to allow for the brain to grow). It seems to be common, happening about 1 in 2000 births, and is more common in males. We thank God that he currently does not seem to have and cognitive development issues from it, and it doesn’t seem to affect him in any way. It’s looking like surgery to reshape his skull followed by a helmet. We will know more tomorrow after our appointment. If surgery is our option we just pray that he is young enough for the endoscopic procedure. And we will pray that God guides the surgeons hands throughout his surgery. To my family in this group, we have not put this publicly on FaceBook yet.
    We just want our little boy to continue to be the happy baby he is and we want to get through this obstacle in his health so he can continue to grow.
    Thank you in advance for your prayers.
  • Lynn has a prayer request: Hi everyone.
    I have a prayer request for a friend of mine since high school. Her son was just hit by a car while driving his moped home from work. Lots of cuts, pain when breathing and head hurting.
  • Karen has praises and prayer requests: I have an amazing praise to share as well as an almost equally tragic prayer request. My praise is that my SIL, my brother, and myself have all received jobs at Amazon with amazing benefits! My prayer request is for my SILs hairdresser. She was just diagnosed with cancer, at 7 months pregnant, with only a week or so to live. They are trying to hold old for the baby as long as they can, but it’s such a tragedy. She is just the sweetest young woman, and I can’t even imagine what her family and husband are going through in these times.
    • Lord please be with that family and keep them close to You. If it is Your Will please heal her and keep the family whole. Also Lord we lift up praises to you for Karen and her family and their jobs. In His name we pray. Amen

Now, please close with us by praying the prayer that Jesus taught His Disciples and us to pray:

Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be done
On Earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those that trespass against us.

Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the Kingdom, and Power, and Glory
Forever and ever. Amen.

prayers

Prayers for the Week – What you can do

prayers

16Rejoice always, 17pray without ceasing, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)

Far too often in life we are left seeing circumstances happen where it seems like there is absolutely nothing that we can do to prevent it.  Much like watching a car accident happen, we are left with a feeling of hopelessness that there is nothing that we could have done to prevent it.

While it is true that things happen that we have no control over, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything we can do about it. The other day I learned of a sad situation between friends, and it saddens me because these are friends that have known each other for many years and there isn’t really anything that I can do about their situation. However, that hasn’t stopped me from praying for them and their circumstances. While it may not help with the situation that they are dealing with directly, I know that God will hear my prayers, and He will take the action that needs to be taken according to His Will. That action may not happen immediately; in fact, it may seem like no action is being taken at all. But what may very well happen is that in the months or even years to come, something may happen that will remind them of each other, and that may in fact be the point where God acts upon my prayers.

None of us know what tomorrow will bring. We think we do, and perhaps what happens is what we believe will or should happen, but regardless of what tomorrow brings, I’m going to re-commit myself to following the words in 1 Thessalonians, chapter 5, verses 16-18.

Rejoice always.

Pray without ceasing.

Give thanks in all circumstances.

That is what God wants me to do — that is His Will for me through His son, Jesus Christ.

Now, please continue in your prayers with our prayer requests and praises.

Prayer Requests & Praises

  • Mikel starts us off with a prayer request: I would ask for your prayers for my husband Bruce. He has some difficult decisions to make at work that not only affect him, but the people that he manages.
  • Dennis needs immediate prayers for a family member. Please lift up Dennis and his family today. Thanks!
  • Amanda has a prayer request for her husband’s aunt, Diane is her name: My husband’s aunt needs prayers. They have found a mass on her liver and are concerned it is advanced pancreatic cancer. They are currently awaiting a biopsy and further scans.
  • Hiro has a prayer request for her father-in-law: Please pray for my Father-in-Law. He is getting surgery on his eyes tomorrow morning. He is worried about losing his sight.
  • Jo has a prayer request for financial blessings for her family.
  • Lastly, please pray for me as I travel for business this week, and lift up my family as well while I’m away. Thanks!

Now, please close with us by praying the prayer that Jesus taught His Disciples and us to pray:

Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be done
On Earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those that trespass against us.

Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the Kingdom, and Power, and Glory
Forever and ever. Amen.

Christian

Prayers for the Week – Why I’m a Christian

Christian

11For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. ~ Jeremiah 29:11-14 (ESV)

Hello everyone, and welcome to this week’s prayers for the week post.  Today I’m taking a moment to talk to you about why I’m a Christian.  It’s something that I feel strongly about, and pray that it may lead you to examine your own reasons for why you are a Christian — or if you aren’t one, to reach out to us and ask any questions you have about how you become one.

When I was a child, my family really didn’t go to church very often.  Most of the times we did go to church were for weddings or funerals, so not very often at all.  I don’t write that as a way of judging why my parents didn’t take us to church.  I write it because to me it shows all the more the plans God has for me, and how He is going to see them through to fulfillment regardless of me.

One of the reasons I’m a Christian is because God’s Word speaks to us today just as it did to others thousands of years ago. Jeremiah recorded the words of God to His people, the Israelites, when they were exiled to Babylon. Although those words were spoken thousands of years ago to a people that was disobedient and ended up in exile, still God tells His people that He hasn’t given up on them, that He will restore them, and it will be because they turned back to Him.

In the same vein, those words are written for us in today’s day. We are often just as disobedient as the Israelites were, and with the state of the world today, you can certainly make an argument that God has turned His back on us. But despite that, God’s promise from yesteryear is very much in evidence today.

When I lost my job at UNC-TV because management decided to outsource to an out of state company two years ago, I really had a sense of fear. How was I going to support my family? How were we going to be able to keep our home? What was going to happen with Sophie’s plans for school? Well, what I know is that the plans I had to accomplish those things really weren’t my plans at all, they were God’s plans. God knew and God knows what we need in our lives.

The short answer to this long-winded discussion is that the reason I’m a Christian is that God provides me and my family with the hope we need each and every day. God knows — and we have learned — that our time on this fallen world is short, and that our real home is Heaven. The hope we have in Jesus is a hope like none other, and it is in that hope that I am a Christian.

Now, please put your hope in Jesus as well, and please pray with me these prayer requests and praises.

Prayer Requests and Praises

  • Mikel starts us off with a prayer request: I would ask for your prayers for my husband Bruce. He has some difficult decisions to make at work that not only affect him, but the people that he manages.
  • Dennis needs immediate prayers for a family member. Please lift up Dennis and his family today. Thanks!
  • Amanda has a prayer request for her husband’s aunt, Diane is her name: My husband’s aunt needs prayers. They have found a mass on her liver and are concerned it is advanced pancreatic cancer. They are currently awaiting a biopsy and further scans.
  • Hiro has a prayer request for her father-in-law: Please pray for my Father-in-Law. He is getting surgery on his eyes tomorrow morning. He is worried about losing his sight.
  • Lastly, Jo has a prayer request for financial blessings for her family.

Now, please close with us by praying the prayer that Jesus taught His Disciples and us to pray:

Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be done
On Earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those that trespass against us.

Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the Kingdom, and Power, and Glory
Forever and ever. Amen.