Top 5 Things Charles will Never Travel Without Again

Charles

Charles works in our administrative and accounting department and has had his share of adventures over the years.   Here is a list of his top 5 things he will never travel without again.

Handkerchief/Hand Towel

So this might be me, but I’m a sweaty Betty. Moreover, I love to get up early and spend the day hiking around whatever locale I find myself in. So I always like to carry a hand towel and/or handkerchief. It also solves the problem of not being able to find paper towels in some bathrooms. It’s also a very eco-friendly option!

Passport Holder

Purchasing a passport wallet was one of the best choices I’ve ever made. The kind I have has space for 4 passports, 6 credit cards, a small change pouch and a zippered pouch. Even better, it has a wrist strap! This makes it very convenient to have all my important cards and documents in one place that I can keep a tight grip on.

Passport Holder

This is the exact style of passport holder Charles uses

Coin Purse

If you use cash, like I prefer to do, then you’ll undoubtedly end up with a pocket or purse loaded with change which can be a hassle to wrestle with, especially if you’re in a foreign country trying not to look like a complete fumbling moron. I found having a coin purse a really good solution. The type I carry has a little clip so I can attach it to my belt or, more often, to my passport Holder.

Coin Purse

Charles purchased a pineapple coin purse like this one in Tokyo

Mobile HotSpot

I rented a mobile hotspot when I was in Japan. I would say that having easy and reliable access to the internet everywhere we went made the entire trip a breeze. If I was lost, I could google map my way back to my hotel. If I didn’t know how to say something I could pull up a quick translation. And when I desperately needed to print tickets that I didn’t know I needed to print, my mobile hotspot connected Me to Seven-Eleven’s internet print service.

Pocket Wifi

 

Travel Insurance

This should go without saying. I am a worrier at heart. If there’s a possibility something might go wrong, I have agonized over the thought of it. Travel Insurance lets me relax. It allows me to focus on enjoying my travel instead of being anxious about it.


Although it’s important that we all stay home and do our part at this time, brighter days are ahead. If there is a dream trip that you want to start researching or if you simply have questions about anything travel related, our team is happy to help. Feel free to reach out by phone or email and say hello. The world is waiting patiently to welcome you back and so are we.

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Our Kids Packing List

We know that many of you are getting a ton of quality time with your kids these days and we think that that is wonderful. We want you to continue to make amazing memories as a family once life gets back to normal (or whatever the new normal might be).  That’s why we are sharing our Kids Packing List to help make your next family vacation that much easier.   Here’s the list Czarina and Jamie put together.

Kid’s Packing List

Before You Go

  • Research your destination or resort.  Make sure your travel agent is aware of what is important to you and your family when it comes to a vacation.  If you’re lucky, you will have chosen somewhere with lots to keep your little ones entertained.
  • Contact your insurance provider
    *Make sure you have the proper protection for everyone including infants if applicable. 
  • Valid passports for your child
    *check validity as most child passports expire after 5 years.  Leave copies with trusted family or friends back home.
  • Electronic Tickets
    *Make sure names are correct and match valid passports.  Leave copies with trusted family or friends back home
  • Make sure to mention any food allergies ahead of time to your agent

In Your / Their Carry-on

  • Kid’s Headphones
  • iPad (with movies, shows and games pre-loaded)
  • On-board distractions (colouring books and non messy markers, play dough, stickers and activity books, memory games, educational games, a zip-lock bag of LEGO  – whatever “quiet” activity they like)
  • A few “surprises” (blind bags, LEGO guys, treats) for “those moments” when you need them to listen and be good in a hurry….example: when Jamie’s 3 year old daughter didn’t want to keep her seat belt on during take off…..bribery works every time.
  • Sippy cups are a great way to avoid spills on planes (if 2 yrs and under, can be prefilled while going through security.  Otherwise you can leave empty and purchase milk, water and juice after security)
    *most airlines carry no milk on-board their planes
  • Snacks for the plane and at the resort
    *Most destinations have no problem accepting packaged snacks.  However, there are limitations on items like seeds, fresh fruit and veggies, meat etc.  Please check with your agent ahead of time.
  • Blankets and favourite stuffy for the plane (helps them to sleep enroute and in strange hotel beds!)
  • Extra change of clothes for plane
    *For your child and for yourselves because spills and other accidents happen
  • Diapers
    *even if child is potty trained.  In the event of an emergency, a diaper can be very handy in the middle of turbulence when your child is not allowed out of their seat
  • Light weight travel stroller – even if your kids have grown out of strollers at home this is something you will want to consider.  Especially if you’re off to a destination with a lot of steps involved.
    *Foldable and must meet weight requirements for gate check with the airlines.

In Their Checked Bag

  • Toys (DUPLO blocks, cars, dolls and so on)
    *Pick a few items that you know your child will be content with for the duration of the trip
  • Formula or pre-made milk
    *Most destinations carry milk but there are no guarantees about the level of pasteurization
  • A full medical kit with kids Benadryl, Advil, Tylenol, Gravol, band-aids, polysporin, any prescriptions, eye drops, ear drops and cough medicine.  It isn’t always easy to find the products we are used to if out of country and if you are somewhere a another language is spoken, you may not be able to decipher the dosages properly.
  • Beach Bag
  • Goggles
  • Umbrella or tent to protect on the beach
    *not all resorts have palapas on the beach
  • Cards, board games, UNO, books
    *Lightweight alternatives are available
  • Floaties and/or water wings
  • Clothes
    *Shorts, shirts, sundresses and more
  • Dish soap
    *Using boiled water, you can wash out bottles or sippy cups each day
  • Water shirt
  • Sand toys
  • Shoes (runners, flip flops, sandals, water shoes or dressier shoes for the evening)
  • Kids sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Lotion and aloe
  • Sunglasses
  • Changing pad & Diaper ointment
  • Insect repellent

 

Is there anything that you always pack for your kids that we’ve missed?  Let us know!

Although it’s important that we all stay home and do our part at this time, brighter days are ahead. If there is a dream trip that you want to start researching or if you simply have questions about anything travel related, our team is happy to help. Feel free to reach out by phone or email and say hello. The world is waiting patiently to welcome you back and so are we.

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The Top 5 Things Karen Loves About Travel

I was asked to write a top 5 list of something I love. I was trying to narrow things down like the top five attractions at Walt Disney World or the top five resorts in Mexico and I was having a really hard time. It is really hard to reflect on things in the outside world when you are barely leaving your house. So I took my own spin on it and decided to do the top 5 things that I love about travel itself.

I take the time to really enjoy the person/people I am with

Everyone’s lives are so busy that we don’t stop and just listen. When you stop and do this you will learn something about them that you never knew, even the people you have known your whole life.

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Having an adventure

My regular everyday life consists of going to work and chasing after my family in one way or another. There aren’t very many new things around those corners. When travelling, there are new things at every corner.

Going outside my comfort zone.

It is easy to always do the comfortable thing, but that is not the way you grow as a person. I have a hard time getting out of my comfort zone but when I do, I really enjoy myself and am always so happy that I did.

Learning something new

As I get older I crave more of this. I am the person that will take at least one guided tour every time I travel. My favourite part isn’t always the destination but the path taken to get there. With a guided tour you receive the insider knowledge that you would never know otherwise.

To escape

Escaping has meant a lot of things to me on different trips. It could be to a new country where I do not know the language and have to figure everything out. It could mean going to Disney to get lost in the magic. It can also mean to lay on a beach with a drink in one hand and a book in the other.

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Travel has been a very important part of my life. Every trip has changed the coarse of how I live today. I can’t wait to try to figure out what the next adventure is going to be!

Although we cannot travel at this time, we can certainly dream.  Please feel free to reach out to me at karen@uniglobeyxe.com if there is anything that you’re dreaming of for the future that you would like to discuss.

 

Travel Agents Never Stop Learning

Never Stop Learning

In the best of times a vital part of being a travel agent is constantly learning and brushing up on what is new or changing in the industry and around the world.  Things may be different these days but between changing and cancelling bookings as well as helping to process insurance claims our team is still making sure to use some of their time to brush up on their product and destination knowledge.   Here’s what we’ve been learning about this past month.

Karen has been working on her Insight Vacations, Trafalgar and Contiki certifications. She has also brushed up on her existing Accessible Travel Certificate Program, done some Manulife Insurance training, taken some G Adventures classes and made sure her annual re-certification for the Disney College of Knowledge was up-to-date.

Czarina has been brushing up on a little bit of everything including Crystal Cruises, Ama Waterways, Solo Travellers, Azamara Cruises, Rocky Mountaineer, Carnival Cruise Line, Oceania, Manulife Insurance, the Hawaiian Islands and some customer service classes.

Cruise Sunset 640

Amanda loves cruising and helping her clients cruise so she’s been getting refreshed on Princess Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruise and Seabourn.  She has also taken some classes from Manulife Insurance, Collette and AMResorts.  She recently finished her Accessible Travel Certificate Program.

Annette has been making sure to keep up with the airlines with a special focus on Air Canada and Delta.  She’s also taken some Manulife Insurance classes, updated with AMResorts and Velas Vallarta, took some customer service classes and is now a specialist on Jordan and Wales.  Next up is reviewing all that Fairmont has to offer.

Kyra is now a Jordan specialist, an Aruba specialist and an Xcaret Hotel & Park Xpert. She’s also taken a few AMResorts and Manulife Insurance classes.

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Xcaret Park

Joanne has taken some extra insurance classes and is now a Grenada specialist, Globus specialist and Avalon Waterways specialist.  She also took some classes from Iberostar Resorts.

Helen is now a Via Rail expert.  She also did a class on Lufthansa and the Munich airport and a few with Delta Air Lines including one specifically on group travel.  She’s working on her South African specialist and her Marriott certificate as well.

Cordell is making sure that he’s up to date with all of the parks and hotels under the Xcaret umbrella as well as Palladium resorts. He’s also taken some classes from Viking Cruises, Collette, Holland America and Royal Scenic.  Up next – the Jordan specialist program.

luke-ellis-craven-knk0vDW0GME-unsplash

 

No matter what you do in life, it’s so important to keep learning and expanding your knowledge.   As you can see, our team is becoming even more knowledgeable on many different topics in the world of travel.  We can’t wait to start sharing all that we’ve learned with you.

Although it’s important that we all stay home and do our part at this time, brighter days are ahead.  If there is a dream trip that you want to start researching or if you simply have questions about anything travel related, our team is happy to help.  Feel free to reach out by phone or email and say hello.  The world is waiting patiently to welcome you back and so are we.

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Hey Airline Rewards Collectors & Frequent Travellers. We’ve Got Some Good News!

Business traveler pulling suitcase

Many of our preferred airlines are offering extensions of their best rewards so that you can still plan to take advantage of that hard earned status.   Here’s a quick overview of a few of the current policies.  If you have any questions, please reach out to us!

Air Canada Announces the Extension of Altitude Status for all qualifying Members

  • Altitude members will enjoy their current status through the end of 2021
  • Members have opportunity to gift status to a loved one
  • Donating Aeroplan Miles to select medical charities will count towards Altitude Status until April 30th

Air Canada announced several updates for Altitude members to ensure their status remains in effect until they are able to resume flying. The changes include the extension of current status until the end of 2021, the ability to share any status achieved in 2020 with a loved one, and new opportunities to qualify for Altitude status and earn Aeroplan Miles from home.

“Loyalty is a two-way street – certainly in good times, but especially so in hard times. Altitude members have shown outstanding commitment to Air Canada, and to provide some certainty during these uncertain times, we are extending members’ current Altitude status to the end of 2021. We’re also making it easier to share status with a loved one, and earn both status and Aeroplan miles from home.” said Mark Nasr, Vice President, Loyalty and eCommerce at Air Canada. “The entire Air Canada team is looking forward to welcoming all customers back in the skies when the time is right.”

In order to provide greater ease and flexibility, changes for Air Canada Altitude customers include:

Automatic extension of 2020 Altitude status
All Altitude status for 2020 will automatically be extended through to the end of 2021.  Should a member reach a higher status before the end of this year, they will enjoy it upon qualification, and maintain it through 2021 as well.

Share Altitude status with friends and family
Since Altitude status is secure through 2021, if a member has already achieved status for next year, or does so by the end of 2020, they can gift it to a friend or family member.

Continue to earn Altitude status and Aeroplan Miles – from home
While at home, a member can still earn Aeroplan Miles, progress towards Altitude status and make a difference with their miles. From now until April 30, for every five Aeroplan Miles a member donates to a charity engaged in fighting the COVID-19 crisis, they will receive one Altitude Qualifying Mile – up to a maximum of 25,000 AQM – all of which count towards 2021 status for the member, and a loved one.

These improvements come in addition to other changes for all Aeroplan members already announced:

Cancel any Flight Reward free of charge
Until April 30, all members can cancel any Flight Reward free of charge and receive all of their Aeroplan Miles back in their account, plus a full refund of any associated taxes, fees and surcharges on the unused value of their travel. This is available for flight itineraries departing any date in the future.

Temporary pause to expiration of Aeroplan Miles
We have paused expiry until May 14, 2020. This means that between now and May 14, any Aeroplan Miles which would have expired will not. Effective May 15, our normal expiration policy will once again apply, meaning that miles will expire if an eligible transaction has not been completed prior to this date.

For more information, please visit: here.

*details taken from Air Canada Flash

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Delta Extends Medallion Status, Club Memberships and More

Delta is continuously working to offer greater flexibility as COVID-19 impacts travel plans. As part of this effort, Medallion Members will now be able to enjoy their current Status through 2021, while other program and card benefits will be extended between six months and one year.

Learn more about these updates here.

*details taken from Delta newsletter

International Terminal Business Travel Transportation Concept

Key Changes to United Airline’s MileagePlus Program

Throughout these unprecedented times, United remain committed to doing what is right and fair for all of their MileagePlus members and are pleased to share the steps they are taking to reciprocate the trust and loyalty that you have placed in United. These steps include not only Premier status updates, but also an extension of current memberships and subscriptions. The updates will happen automatically over the next few weeks — there’s nothing you need to do.

The big news: If you have current 2020 Premier status, it will be extended to January 31, 2022. At a minimum, you will enjoy the same published status next year that you have today, up to Premier 1K®.

They’re reducing the 2020 Premier qualifying points (PQP) and flight requirements for all tiers by 50%. You’ll still need a minimum of four flight segments on United or United Express®.

Find out more about United MileagePlus here.

*details taken from United for Business Email Blast

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CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

March 12, 2020

We know the unknown of COVID-19 is causing concern.  We want you to know that as your partner and advocate, we are doing everything we can to reduce the stress of the situation as it pertains to your business and personal travel. We receive daily updates from our vendors and partners. Our team is staying informed of changing schedules and updated cancellation/insurance policies as they are being released.

We advise that travelers take the following precautions – en route or at home:

  • Avoid handshaking! Use a fist bump, nod, namaste, etc.
  • Use your knuckle to touch light switches, elevator buttons, etc.
  • Lift gasoline dispensers or door handles with a paper towel or closed fist when possible. You can opt into using gloves as well.
  • Use disinfectant wipes when available: Example, at the stores including the handle and child seat in grocery carts.
  • Travel with disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer for the times when it is not provided.
    • Be sure to get the tray table and arm rests on planes!
    • Be sure to get the steering wheel in your vehicles (and rental cars)
    • Use as appropriate when out shopping, getting gas, dining out, etc.
  • Wash your hands often and be sure to wash them with warm water for 20+ seconds. When you do not have access to soap and water, use hand sanitizer frequently.
  • If possible, cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and discard. Use your elbow only if you have to. The clothing on your elbow will contain infectious virus that can be passed on for up to a week or more.
  • Wash your clothing and sheets frequently. Especially if you find yourself coughing/sneezing into them.
  • Use common remedies like ColdFX, echinacea or similar, as directed when you begin to feel ANY cold-like symptoms beginning.
  • Avoid large gatherings, perhaps except ones where all can be considered to have observed these protocols.

The links below have additional details from our partners and are being updated frequently. The Uniglobe Carefree Travel Group team is receiving updates as well and monitoring the situation to best assist our clients:

Airlines

  • Air Canada (as of March 12)
    • Summary: Waiving change fees for all new bookings until March 31, 2020. Waiving change fees for travel booked before March 4, 2020 with an original travel date before April 30, 2020.
    • Air Canada News Page re COVID-19
  • Delta (as of March 12)
    • Summary: Waiving change fees for all flight/destinations ticketed on or before March 9, for travel through April 30 (to/from Europe through May 31), to any date before Dec 31.
    • Delta News page re COVID-19
  • WestJet (as of March 12)
    • Summary: All new flight bookings made between March 3, 2020 and March 31, 2020 will be allowed a one-time change fee waiver.  For flights booked before March 3, 2020 for travel in March or April 2020 there is a $0 one-time fee waiver for changes or cancellations.
    • WestJet News Page re COVID-19

Hotels

If we have assisted, you with your hotel booking.  Please let us know any hotel cancellation you may have and we will reach out to the hotels on your behalf.

Conferences

We will communicate with the conferences regarding any cancellations we receive.  Every conference is different, and we are happy to gather information and cancel conferences for our clients as well.

Cruise Lines 

  • Viking – Policy UpdateCancel for any reason and receive future cruise credit. Viking suspends all cruises through April 30.
  • Princess Cruise Line All voyages departing March 12 to May 10 have been paused. Guests have the opportunity to transfer 100% of the money paid for their cancelled cruise to a future cruise of their choice.
  • Holland America – Book with Confidence policy(cancel for any reason and receive future cruise credit)
  • Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection Today they decided to suspend all European itineraries until April 23rd. Existing bookings for this time period have the option to rebook for 2020 or 20201 cruises or receive a future cruise credit to be used during the next 24 months.  For bookings after April 23rd, guests can now cancel up to 14 days prior to their cruise and rebook on any 2020 or 2021 cruise without penalty or have the option to rebook with one of their TTC sister brands—from Trafalgar to Insight Vacations—for 2020 to 2021.

**If your cruise line is not listed, please reach out to your agent for specifics.

Travel Insurance

If you have any questions regarding your existing insurance policy or would like to add travel insurance to your booking please reach out to our agents for the most up-to-date information.

Industry Info

Many of our travel industry partners have made changes to their change and cancellation policies.   As this information changes regularly we encourage you to reach out to your Uniglobe Travel Agent for details applicable to the trip you have booked or are planning to book.

Health & Govt Info

Whatever your travel plans are, we encourage you to reach out to our team for answers to any of your questions at this time.

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New and New to Me at Disneyland – Jamie’s Final Disney Blog

When we started planning our trip to Disneyland, I thought I knew all there was to know about Disneyland.  This would be my fourth trip to the Park and our most recent trip was only a year and a half ago.  In the end, I surprised myself with the number of new rides, dining options and experiences that we participated in during our stay.  Here is a quick recap of my thoughts on each:

Rides:

  1. Matterhorn.  This is one of the original Disney rides and a timeless favorite for many.  It has been closed for refurbishment on all of my previous visits.  This roller coaster takes you high in the Matterhorn mountain with lots of twists and turns as you evade a Yeti.  It was fun and thrilling and my kids loved it….me not quite as much, mainly because it’s a bit “rough” and jarring – not always easy on the back and older bones 🙂
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  2. Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!  The Hollywood Tower of Terror was one of my favorite Disney rides.  The last time I was at Disney our youngest ones were too little to go on this ride so I stayed off while my husband and older daughter went on this one.  This time, we all went and I still LOVE this ride.  The premise is the same with all the drops (and the tricky part is you never know how many drops there will be!), but the ride is re-imagined with a Guardians of the Galaxy theme and is really well done.  It is terrifying in the best possible way and even the little guys couldn’t wait to go on it again and again.

  3. Indiana Jones.  We tried to go on this ride last time, but the lineups were always long and we never seemed to get around to getting a fastpass for it.  This time, I made a point of getting a fastpass so we could check it out.  It’s a really well done ride – especially if you have watched and enjoyed the Indian Jones movies.  It plays a lot on parts of the movies and takes you through a temple on a wild jeep ride.  It’s a bit rough, so again if you have back problems, it’s not the one for you.  Otherwise, go and enjoy!
  4. Grizzly River Rapids.  This ride is at California Adventure and takes you on a big tube (fitting 8 guests) down a river with rapids and waterfalls.  You will get wet (possibly soaked) but it’s a lot of fun on a hot day and a great way to cool off and have fun.  I really enjoyed the ride and we had a lot of laughs.
  5. Rise of the Resistance.  I talk more about this ride in my Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge  blog, but this ride was AMAZING and well worth all the hype.  Be sure to join a boarding zone right as soon as the park opens or you will be out of luck for getting on this ride.  The wait time from when your boarding zone is called is roughly 30 minutes.  This method of crowd control seems to be working well and gets people through the ride in a very efficient manner without having to wait for hours in line..
    Star Wars 3

 

Food:

  1. Mobile Food Orders: Last time we went with just my family of 5, we found it worked well to have one dining reservation each day and have a bit of a “plan”.  This time, we had 11 people and I ended up cancelling most of my dining reservations.  It was just a bit hard to get everyone in the same place at a specified time when everyone had different things they wanted to be doing.  Reservations can typically be cancelled without penalty up to 1 day beforehand.  Instead of the dining reservations and sit down meals, in this scenario we found it easier to use the “mobile order” part of the Disneyland app.  I had not used it before, but it worked amazingly well.  You could pop onto the app, order your lunch and when you were ready to pick it up, you hit one more button on the app and 5 minutes later your order was ready.  No waiting in line.  I love it!  We did this every day at least once.  My favorites:  Burgers from the Hungry Bear in Critter Country, Chicken Fingers from the Golden Horseshoe in Frontierland and Chili Cheese Dogs from Award Wieners in Hollywood land (considerably better than the other hot dog places in California Adventure and very reasonably priced).
  2. Food & Wine Festival:  I have a separate blog on this event, but to recap, it is festival of food and drink vendors that are not normally at California Adventure who are showcasing a few of their specialties.  It is a very fun atmosphere, the Sip and Savour pass is reasonably priced and I would love to experience it again.  It was good with the kids along, it would be even better as an adult date night.
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  3. Breakfast with Minnie and Friends at the Plaza Inn:  This is a full buffet breakfast/brunch with Minnie and several of her friends.  The characters change a bit, but Minnie is a given.  It’s a bit expensive – $39 for Adults, $19 for kids, but it saves you a ton of time waiting in line to meet the characters.  The characters all come around to your tables and will sign autograph books and take pictures.  The food was also very good.  It was buffet style, with cooking stations.  Mickey waffles and French toast, an omelette stations, an egg and breakfast meat stations, all kinds of drinks and side dishes.  It was all you can eat and a few of us made the most of that!  We opted for the latest time – 10:40am and had that pass as our lunch that day.5

 

We had such an amazing time at Disneyland this year.  If you have questions about planning your own Disney vacation please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team.  There are some amazing promotions currently available and they would love to help make the magic happen!

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Jamie’s Experience at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

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There were so many things I was excited to do and try on this trip to Disneyland, but of them all, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge topped the list.  When we were in Disneyland a year and a half ago, they were building it and we have been anticipating this new land ever since.  Boy, did it live up to our expectations!

When you walk into Galaxy’s Edge, it is truly like stepping into another world.  Disney has out-Disney’d itself.  All the sights, sounds, smells – even the Coca Cola bottles, make you think you are in a Star Wars movie.  Perhaps the best part is the Disney cast members and how they interact with the guests.  They stay very true to character and the Storm Troopers are often around and will stop and question guests. I am the first to admit I am not a big follower of Star Wars, beyond having seen the first few movies, but I was suitably impressed and my husband and kids even more so.

Cola

Of course, the big news in Galaxy’s Edge is the newly opened “Rise of the Resistance” ride.  It opened a few weeks ago and the lineups were expected to be so big for this ride that Disney implemented a “boarding zone” policy.  I wasn’t quite sure how this would work, but we were determined to check out this ride.  We heard from fellow guests that you had to be inside the Disney park and ready to press “join boarding zone” on the Disneyland App, the minute the park opened if you had any hope of getting on a boarding zone.  Disney starts letting guests in the gates half hour before the official park opening time.  We arrived early and were through the gates 15 minutes prior to park opening and right at 9:00am, we pressed the “join boarding zone” button and were rewarded with being in boarding zone 35 – a sure bet to get on the ride that day.  The most amazing part was hearing the roar that echoed throughout the entire park at 9am.  It was all of the Star Wars fans celebrating their luck or bemoaning their lack thereof.

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It was clear from all the Star Wars t-shirts and gear that a large part of the Disney crowd last week were there for Star Wars.  Despite that, the park itself was not overly busy and it was easy to navigate through Galaxy’s Edge, interact with the characters and enjoy the sites at any given time.  The only things that seemed to have line ups were “Oga’s Cantina” (dining reservations recommended) and the “Rise of the Resistance” ride.

Star Wars 13

Our boarding zone 35 was called around 1030am.  Once our boarding zone was called, it was about a half hour wait in line to get on the ride.  The ride itself was amazing.  The part that makes it different from other Disney rides is the level of interaction with the Disney cast members.  You are escorted onto a space ship and told you are being recruited for the Resistance.  Then your space craft is captured and boarded by the First Order and you are escorted off to a room full of storm troopers and generals who march you down to a different area, yelling commands at a few chosen guests along the way.  From there you board the “ride” part and a vessel takes you through different areas as you evade the First Order and eventually area broken out by the Resistance.  It’s incredibly well done and very “real” feeling.

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Shortly after our ride, my 5 year old son was approached by two storm troopers and Kylo Ren.  He was quite clearly convinced that they were trying to get him to tell the resistance secrets and join the first order.  I’m quite sure he thought the entire thing was real (the ride and the interaction after).  It was a highlight of our time at Disney.  We look forward to spending more time in Galaxy’s Edge next time.


Interested in planning your own dream vacation to Disneyland?  Reach out to our team at 306-242-TRIP and our experienced agents would be happy to help get you on your way!

UniglobeCarefreeTravelGroup

Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival 2020

I was very excited to see that the Disneyland Food & Wine Festival was going to be on during our trip to Disneyland this past week.  If there is anything I love as much as IMG_6571Disneyland, it’s food and wine!  I have been to Disneyland and Walt Disney World several times, but this was something that had never coincided with my previous trips.

The Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival takes place at Disney California Adventure Park and it runs from February 28 – April 21, 2020.  Despite the festival, crowds were pretty low last week when we were there.  The evenings were a bit busier, but there was never a long lineup for food and no one was getting out of hand.  It was a family friendly atmosphere and event.  Most vendors had 2-3 food items as well as a couple of drink offerings.  There were 17 food card vendors that are not normally part of the California Adventure food lineup.  You can purchase a “Sip and Savor Pass” for $56 USD.  This gives you 8 tabs that can be traded in for a food or non-alcoholic drink item at any of the vendors.  Most food items were around $8 USD, so this was a pretty good deal.  Our family of 5 purchased this one evening and used it to get our food for dinner that night – lots of fun trying different items.  We purchased our drinks separately, but all in all, it was then a similar price to getting dinner at one of the other Disney restaurants, but it was a new experience with lots of variety.

We tried Ranch Fried Chicken Wings at “Cluck a Doodle Moo” (my kids favorite!), Black Garlic Soy-braised Pork Belly Banh Mi and Carbonara Garlic Mac and Cheese with Bacon at “Garlic Kissed” (the Banh Mi was Mark’s favorite!), Mini Chicken Chimis with Chimichurri at “Off the Cob”, Pepperoni Pizza Egg Rolls at “California Craft Brews” and Asian style Beef Barbacoa Street Tacos at “LA Style” (my favorite!).  We also sampled a Pineapple Beer at Cluck a Doodle Moo and the “fun” flight of beer at California Craft Brews, which were interesting and fun to try.  The full sized beer were around $10 each and a flight of 4 beer samples (decent sizes) were around $15.

 

All in all, this event added an extra touch of fun, food and something different to our trip to Disneyland and we really enjoyed our afternoon/evening of tasting!

#RIUParty – Pool Parties : The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

After spending a week at the lovely RIU Santa Fe in sunny Los Cabos, Mexico I have had my share of experiences with the popular RIU Pool Parties. These themed parties happen four times per week at RIU’s Cabo resorts and in Punta Cana. You get the Neon Party, Jungle Party, White Party and Pink Party. Two are from 7pm – 11pm and the other two are from 2pm – 7pm.

The Jungle Party started out super quiet
But it got lively pretty quickly!

The good: these parties are FUN. We attended the Jungle party as a group and stayed much longer than anticipated. Dancing in the foam pool was a lot more fun than any other foam party I’ve ever been to for some reason. The theming was excellent. Plus this party features performances from Coco Bongo which are always fun to watch and a nice sample for anyone interested in going to Coco Bongo. I also popped into the white party with a few of our group members which featured music from the 70s, 80s and 90s. It was outstanding and genuinely a party I would like to attend again some day. I can really imagine vacationing at a RIU resort that features these parties with a group of my best friends and having the time of our lives. This would be a great option for a stag or stagette trip! It was wonderful to see people of all generations enjoying these pool parties too. Everyone deserves to let loose and have a little fun once in a while.

Coco Bongo performance on the stage

With the exception of the end of the week party that fell over Spring Break it didn’t feel too crowded either. There was room to dance however you like to dance in the foam pool, the swim up pool or off to the sides where you don’t even have to get wet.

Some of the 98Cool group living it up in the foam pool

The bad: for whatever reason, the number of people who became drunk beyond reason seemed really high. I don’t believe that the bartenders were necessarily over serving, I think this may have been an issue caused by RIU’s signature in-room liquor dispensers. These people were sloppy and made what could be a super fun party into a bit of a joke. The resort was ready for them with plenty of security guards in the party and wheel chairs just outside. Although these “party poopers” were an annoyance they were, for the most part, handled efficiently.

The wheelchairs ready and waiting…

The ugly: We arrived at the resort the evening of the Neon Party. At first observation it looked super fun and I’m sure that it was. However, our group was given rooms in buildings 7 and 8. Both are just steps from the party location. Since our flight had left Saskatoon early that morning most of us were looking forward to a good nights sleep. This wasn’t an option for many in our group as the party raged on and then the party-goers made their way to their rooms hooting and hollering in the halls for a few more hours. Not only could we hear the music, it was rattling our patio doors! This was not an ideal way to start our vacation and I strongly suggest requesting rooms far from the location of the party if you value your sleep or are travelling with children that you want to keep on a bedtime schedule. This may, unfortunately, mean choosing not to have an ocean view room at this hotel.

Another great thing about the pool parties is if they are something that you are not interested in, you’ll have the rest of the resort “to yourself” since so many people attend the pool parties.

98Cool’s Gregger and his wife Ang got fully into the Jungle theme
Just a few from our group hanging out on the side of the party, people watching and having a blast.

If you do go, my advice is to just jump in and have fun. You are sure to have an amazing time. But also bring some tips. The staff working the pool party are working extremely hard and certainly deserve a little extra thank you. (I saw one man bussing tables IN the pool fully clothed.)

I’ll be back RIU Pool Parties. I promise.


Interested in booking a trip to the RIU Santa Fe or the Dominican Republic to take advantage of this amazing all inclusive feature? Reach out to our team!