Booking Our Second Annual Family Vacation

Ocean View from Hampton Inn Cocoa Beach

September 2021 was our time to take our second annual family vacation. Before I share all the fun details about this trip I’d like to give you a mini back story. I know many of you are shocked that this is the 2nd vacation my family has taken. And to be honest last year was our very first family vacation. As a single mother finances have always been tight. For 17 years I was living on survival mode; trying to keep up with living expenses and daycare. After 13 years at the same company and my children are grown up now I have some wiggle room. Of course my kids have travelled more then I have. I have a great family support system and with that my children were invited on vacations with extended family. My sister and my parents are the biggest blessings in my life and have treated my children like their own. They would take my lil humans to NC, TN, GA, and to enjoy the sites in our home state. I stayed home and would live my daily life like usual…work and housesitting/petsitting. Don’t get me wrong I was content. One day, A- my oldest asked why we never go anywhere together and I went on a mental excursion remembering how much family vacations meant to me when I was growing up. I never had the funds and I had to sacrifice my ownself for the greater good. As parents we always want to give our kids the absolute best. Travelling without me at that time was the best- they made some core memories (an extreme amount of core memories- I have a fun family.) Last year I surprised my kids with our first annual family vacation to Saint Augustine. I never did have time to write about our visit- perhaps one day soon I will. It was refreshing to take a break and just enjoy life. After that trip I decided I could not wait another 20 years til my next vacation. I wanted to go on some sort of trip every year. So with that said in the beginning of 2021 I logged into my Hilton Honors app and booked the closest beach- Cocoa Beach. Right now I am limited with how far I can travel- car issues. It’s a long story but in short- Ugly Betty (my car) just about died after our first road trip. Well, no…she actualy died. I pushed her to far. BUT she was revived by another amazing human in my life. He has become my superhero- if you are reading this YOU know who you are! I will definitley have to write the post on last year’s vacation just so I can share what happened to Ugly Betty. But for now we are going back to the some what present. I have warm memories of Cocoa Beach. When I was a young girl my family would visit this beach just about every summer for a week or so. I knew my children would love it too! Booking my hotel stay through the Hilton Honors App was very easy. Simply search for your destination, choose your travel dates, select your room prefrences, and search special rates like AAA, AARP, Senior Rate, Travel Agent, and/or Gov/Military Rate.

When I booked my trip my rate was a bit high, but as you know rates change- they can go up and they can go down. To get the best rate I checked the app for new rates weekly and just about daily a week before our trip. If I found a cheaper rate I locked it in by updating my reservation. I did manage to lower my rate a bit and it ended up being a little more afforadable. Not only can you book your trip on the app, but you can do early check in, utilize digital key, and check out. Anyone who is not tech savy can easily navigate the app. These additional options help keep travelers safe during COVID- allowing less face to face interaction with hotel staff. And this is what I found to be really cool…we checked into our room 24 hours prior to our arrival. I selected my room using the available room chart all from the comfort of my own home- the day before.

On the day of check-in I received a notification that my room was ready (I was still driving to the hotel- I was somewhere between Kissimmee and Cocoa. Locals you know that long road in Saint Cloud; Nova Road?) and I was able to go straight to my room using the digital key in the app. Hilton makes travel easy! I think I am addicted to this App. I log in just about every day since to plan my next stay at a Hilton Family Hotel. Where will my app take me next?

In my next post I will share details about the hotel we stayed at and more. I just wanted to share how easy it is to use the Hilton Honors App. As a new traveler I was very impressed. If you haven’t already you should sign up for Hilton Honors and start earning free stays! http://www.Hilton.com

Adventures by Disney Announces Expanded Cruise Vacation Options for 2019

All-New Seine River Cruise Vacation Offers Engaging Roundtrip Sailings from Paris to Normandy; New Southern California Land Tour Provides the Ideal Sea Cruise Add-On

BURBANK, Calif. – Adventures by Disney, a leader in guided group travel worldwide, revealed today new cruise vacations for 2019, offering more European river cruise sailings than ever before, including all-new sailings down France’s Seine River. New Southern California land packages were also announced, which can be added on to 2018 Disney Cruise Line vacations setting sail from San Diego.

All-New European River Cruises on France’s Seine River

Adventures by Disney Seine River CruisesIn 2019, Adventures by Disney guests will set sail on a record breaking 21 river cruise departures on three European rivers – the Danube, Rhine and, new for this year, the Seine River in France.

The new 10-day, 9-night Seine river cruise vacation combines two days exploring Paris on land, followed by eight days of cruising to picturesque French destinations such as Conflans, Vernon and more. Sailing with AmaWaterways, a premier luxury river cruise line, the popular Adventures by Disney river cruises allow families to explore the heart of Europe in a way that’s active, immersive and easy.

Highlights of this new Seine River vacation include:

  • Interactive culinary experiences, including a gourmet food tasting tour, regional wine and cheese sampling and hands-on macaron making demonstration.
  • Guided tours of Paris icons, including Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre.
  • Active excursion options for the whole family, including biking, canoeing, horseback riding, a ropes course and hiking on the stunning cliffs of Etretat.
  • Immersive local experiences, including a visit to Monet’s House and Gardens in Giverny, a hands-on painting workshop, an apple orchard visit with Calvados tastings and more.
  • Enriching visit to the Normandy American Cemetery.
  • Engaging castle tours and rich historical storytelling at Chateau de Bizy, Chateau Malmaison and Chateau Gaillard.

Adventures by Disney Seine River CruisesAdventures by Disney guests can also add on an extension package at Disneyland Paris Resort to complete their vacation.

This new Seine itinerary will include two Summer 2019 departures, offering enchanting activities for families, as well as two Fall 2019 epicurean sailings, which will be held exclusively for adults. The latter will offer a wide range of special food and wine themed experiences both on and off the ship.

“Adventures by Disney river cruising continues to be an immensely popular vacation option for families, as well as adults looking for an exhilarating and immeasurably charming way to experience the rich culture of Europe,” said Ken Potrock, senior vice president of Adventures by Disney. “In 2019, we’re thinking bigger, expanding our river cruise offerings to include more departures than ever before. With the addition of new sailings along the Seine River, our guests now have a wealth of new destinations and experiences to enjoy in one of the most beautiful and romantic places in the world, France.”

Each Adventures by Disney river cruise sailing focuses on variety and flexibility, allowing travelers to customize their trip by choosing from a wealth of carefully curated activity options. 

Popular Rhine and Danube River Cruises Return

Adventures by Disney will also offer a mix of family and adult-only departures of their popular Danube and Rhine river cruises in 2019.

Adventures by Disney Rhine river cruises give travelers the opportunity to delight in the beauty of four countries – France, Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands. From riding a toboggan in the Black Forest to exploring the storybook Heidelberg Castle, these eight-day, seven-night vacations pair unforgettable adventures in port with luxurious river cruise accommodations and amenities onboard.

Eight summer departures in 2019 offer experiences designed with families in mind, while two adult-exclusive epicurean sailings will take place during the Fall, serving up extraordinary food and beverage experiences both on and off the ship.

Also in 2019, Adventures by Disney will offer seven departures of their Danube river cruise, including five family departures during the summer, a family holiday themed sailing in December and an adult-exclusive Oktoberfest-themed sailing in September. These eight-day, seven-night vacations will visit iconic locations and hidden gems in Germany, Austria and Hungary. Climb above the German treetops, try your hand at Austrian strudel making, stroll charming towns and villages, and more on these scenic adventures.

New 4-Day, 3-Night Southern California Adventure Offered in Conjunction with
Disney Cruise Line Sailings from San Diego

Adventures by Disney also launched a new four-day, three-night Southern California land tour that can be booked as a stand-alone vacation, or in conjunction with Disney Cruise Line sailings departing from the port of San Diego. This guided group vacation allows travelers to revel in a behind-the-scenes look at places where Disney magic is made, including rare private tours of The Walt Disney Studios and Walt Disney Imagineering, VIP experiences at Disneyland Resort, an exclusive visit to Walt Disney’s Disneyland apartment, a sneak peek at props and costumes from beloved Disney films at the Disney Archives, and more.

This new Southern California Short Escape package is available on select dates in Spring and Fall 2018, making it an ideal pre-cruise option for Disney Cruise Line guests sailing during this time period.

Bookings for all of these new vacations open on Jan. 25, 2018. Email me at holly@pixiedustbyus.com to book your next Disney Adventure!