New Year’s Resolutions

It is that time of year once again to make promises to ourselves that we will hopefully keep.  2016 has been so good in so many ways, and just TERRIBLE in others!  On the plus side, we were able to visit the Happiest Place on Earth three times in 2016!  We were able to experience new things that we never had done before (Flower and Garden Festival, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, and the International Food and Wine Festival).  In the world though there are just so many scary things happening.  All we can do though is continue in positivity, and that is what 2017 is going to be about for me; positivity and perseverance.

Resolution #1- Be healthier in 2017.  For me this means a few things.  Of course, losing weight (who doesn’t have losing weight as one of their resolutions haha!).  But in all seriousness, I am an obese woman.  I need to lose 80-90 pounds, and it’s not going to be easy, it will require positivity and perseverance.  The second part of being healthier for me includes being more mentally healthy.  I live my life in nearly constant chaos and stress.  Much of it is my own doing and I am aware of that.  With that in mind, de-stressing and being more mindful is a goal of mine for 2017.  My husband got me a “spire” mindfulness tracker for Christmas, and that is just one step towards this goal.  I think that these two areas go hand in hand as well… after 33 years I am well aware of my tendency to stress eat.

Resolution #2– BLOG MORE!  I can give you 1000 reasons why I didn’t blog much this past year, but let’s just remember what I said about resolution #1- “I live my life in nearly constant chaos and stress” that I bring upon myself.  I am hoping that with a more mindful 2017 that I will make time for the things that I enjoy.  One of my favorite things is talking about Disney and thinking about Disney, so it’s my goal to make more time for this blog in 2017.

Resolution #3- Earn more swagbucks in 2017.  www.swagbucks.com is a website where users can earn virtual currency that they can redeem for real gift cards.  This past year I earned enough swagbucks for $580 in gift cards, where as the previous (2015) year I earned $1050 in gift cards.  In 2017 I would like to match my 2015 swagbucks earnings.  All of the gift cards that I earn go towards our Disney trips.  Read here how I saved for our Disney trip with swagbucks.

Resolution #4- Continue to enjoy new experiences at Disney World in 2017.  My husband and I were fortunate enough to be able to visit Disney World three times in 2017.  On two of the trips we were able to take in TONS of new experiences such as the Flower and Garden Festival, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, and the International Food and Wine Festival.  I would like to continue to experience all that Disney has to offer.  As it is every changing, this seems like an impossible task, but that is just part of the magic.

Resolution #5- Book more trips for Charming Travels LLC. With my knowledge of Disney properties continually expanding, I have increased opportunities to talk with clients and help them plan a magical vacation that they’re remember for a lifetime.  In 2016 I grew as a travel agent and I want 2017 to be the best year ever.

Resolution #6- Run a 1/2 marathon.  I have run 15 half marathons in my lifetime, but I have put a considerable amount of weight on since my running prime.  Due to a lack of training and motivation I walked the majority of my last two 1/2 marathons.  My goal is to no just “do” a half marathon, but to actually train and run it.

Well those are my goals for 2017!  What are yours?

happy-new-year

 

 

 

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Tuesday’s Tip- Using a Disney Travel Planner

Planning a Disney vacation, whether it be to Walt Disney World in Florida, Disneyland in California, or a Disney Cruise can be quite overwhelming.  There is so much to consider as far as park tickets, how many days to stay, where and how to get dining reservations, fastpasses, magic bands, and transportation.  If you’ve never been to Disney you can end up spending hours planning and still not knowing how to maximize your vacation.

When you finally decide to take the plunge and spend the money on a Disney vacation you want to make sure that you’re making the most out of your trip while also having fun and creating magical memories that will last a lifetime!  Using a Disney travel planner can take the stress out of planning your Disney vacation!  Disney vacation planners all go through a rather extensive “Knowledge College” and have to pass quizzes to make sure they know how to best plan a vacation for Disney guests.  Travel planners are there to make planning your trip easier and they genuinely love Disney and planning Disney vacations!

So the first thing that I always assumed about going through a travel planner is that it would end up costing me more money to book through a planner… let’s debunk that myth right now- it costs ZERO extra dollars to book through a travel planner.  Zero, zilch, nada, zip!  So you’re paying nothing extra and you get the benefit of the knowledgable travel professional, sounds like the way to go to me!

If you’re like me you like to be involved in the planning process. So the travel planner can do as little as booking the trip for you, or as much as planning a detailed itinerary, dining reservations, and fast passes.  It is up to the client how involved they want to be in the process and how much the travel planner can do for you.

With all that being said, I am SOOOOO excited and pleased to announce that I Ashley, your resident Mouskaholic, is now an official Disney travel planner through Charming Travels LLC.  If you’re wanting to book a vacation at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, or a Disney Cruise, I can help guide you through the process step by step!

Contact me today at Ashley@CharmingTravelsLLC.com and I can get you a quote and get you on your way to creating magical memories!

Ashley at Charming Travels LLC  Ashley@CharmingTravelsLLC.com

Ashley at Charming Travels LLC
Ashley@CharmingTravelsLLC.com

 

 

DVC Coverband Review and Giveaway!

Hello Mouskaholics!  On Monday we talked about magic bands and how they’re shaping the future at Walt Disney World.  Click here to read Monday’s article

One of the hottest trends in magic band fashion is customizing your magic band!  My husband I decided to customize our magic bands when we got them for our trip in August.  I am a person who likes to research, so I did my homework on the best way to customize our magic bands.  I saw tutorials on painting them, and I saw that I could purchase charms to go on them, BUT the easiest way that I found to customize our magic bands was to order “Cover Bands” from DVC Central.  For only $6 per coverband Craig and I were able to pick unique designs for our magic bands!  They were awesome and we both got tons of compliments on them!

What I liked about the coverbands-

1) They were waterproof!  I knew that the magic band itself was waterproof and that I couldn’t go swimming.  I was a little skeptical about going into the water with my magic band with the coverband on, BUT it definitely held up!  I went swimming multiple times on our trip and there was absolutely no lifting of any sort!

2) It was easy to apply.  I was able to very easily apply the coverband to my magic band.  It is essentially a sticker (A high quality one!) so you just peel it off of the paper and stick it right on the magic band!

3)  It was a fast way to customize my magic band!  I was able to add the coverband to my magic band in less that 1 minute.  (I saw a lot of ways to customize that involved painting etc and were pretty time intensive)

4) There are TONS of designs!  Craig and I had a lot of fun looking through the designs!  It was really hard to decide what we wanted for our coverbands because there were so many options!

5) They aren’t too expensive!  In the grand scheme of a Disney trip, $6 per band to customize isn’t that expensive at all!  Especially when you compare it to the fancy magic bands they sell when you get there or even the little charms and accessories they sell for them!  In my mind it was $12 well spent for our two magic bands!  I absolutely plan to get more for when I travel for the marathon in January!!!

SOOOOOO… now that I’ve gone on and on about how AWESOME DVC Coverbands are, it’s time for a Giveaway!!!  DVC has graciously given me two sets of coverbands to giveaway!!!

Both sets of coverbands are from their new holiday line!  The First, Damask Tree Band Pack set includes 5 coverbands and has a value of $25.00.  The second is their Christmas Light set includes 3 coverbands and has a value of $15.00.  Entering is simple!  To enter, like my facebook page, like Michelle at Marvelous Mouse Travels facebook page, and like DVC Coverband’s facebook page!  It’s that simple!  Feel free to share the contest with your friends too!

Click here to enter!!!

Damask Christmas Tree Pack ($25 value)

Damask Christmas Tree Pack ($25 value)

Christmas Lights Pack ($15 value)

Christmas Lights Pack ($15 value)

Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival- By Michelle Coomes

Hey all! This is Michelle, a friendly travel agent specializing in Disney vacations & an old friend of Ashley’s. Today I’ll share with you one of the best celebrations that Disney World has to offer. Hope you enjoy!

Fall is my favorite time of year for many reasons- cooler weather, leaves changing, Halloween celebrations and food. Yes, food! Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival takes place every fall and it’s the perfect excuse to make a trip to Disney! This festival has been taking place in Epcot each fall since 1996 and it keeps getting better every year.

The festival takes place on the World Showcase side of Epcot, with booths set up around the lagoon representing 25 countries and their cuisines. Each booth has a few selections of samplings, both food and wine/beer. I always suggest adding a Dining Plan onto your vacation- but it’s an especially smart idea during the Food & Wine Festival because you can use the Disney Snack Credits at these booths! Many of the food selections are available by using a Snack Credit, but the drinks are not- you’ll still have to pay out of pocket/card for those. My husband & I save up at least 3 snack credits each, and then purchase a few drinks to pair with them.

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My kids at the World Showcase

My kids at the World Showcase

The lines for each booth can get pretty long, especially some of the favorites like Ireland, Japan & Morocco. But there’s always entertainment or people watching that can keep you occupied while you wait for your next delicious International sampling!

Not only are there foods inspired from other countries, but Disney has done an excellent job including foods that are vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and other diet/allergy/sensitivities.

Some of my favorites that I look forward to this year:

Vegetarian moussaka from Greece

Moussaka from Greece

Moussaka from Greece

 

Vegetarian Haggis with neeps & tatties (Griddled vegetable cake with rutabaga and mashed potatoes) from Scotland

Haggis

Haggis from Scotland

 

And Sweet Corn Cheese Cake from Mexico

Sweet cheese corn cake from Mexico

Sweet cheese corn cake from Mexico

If these photos didn’t entice you to plan a trip to Disney during Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival, check out Disney’s official festival site & I bet they will. For me and my family, we are headed there in 3 weeks to enjoy it all! Thanks for allowing me to share with you a little of why I love this festival, at the happiest place on earth!

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https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/epcot/epcot-international-food-and-wine-festival/

 

And if you’d like assistance booking and planning your next Disney vacation, contact me today! My services are free of charge & I can make sure that your trip is a magical one!

Michelle – Marvelous Mouse Travels

Michelle@MarvelousMouseTravels.com

www.facebook.com/MichelleDisneyTravel

(704)237-0814

Introducing Guest Blogger- Michelle Coomes

Hello Mouskaholics!  I am very excited to introduce my friend Michelle Coomes!  She will be occassionally guest blogging here on the site!  I am stoked to have her on board because she is bringing two different perspective to my “Confessions of a Mouskaholic” page!  First she’s a Disney travel agent, and second she is a mom!  She has tons of Disney experience!  Without further ado- allow Michelle to introduce herself!

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Hi, my name is Michelle and I am a Travel Planner specializing in Disney Travel. I live in the Lake Norman area in North Carolina but grew up outside of Akron, Ohio. I am married to my dear, sweet husband Nathan and have 2 great children, Mitchell (5) and Piper (2.) My husband and I began traveling to Disney together when we were still in college and I am so thankful that we’ve been able to share the magic with our children too.

Growing up my family vacationed on the beaches in North Carolina every year & my love for Disney began with  the numerous Disney movies that played on a loop in our home (particularly Beauty and the Beast!)

My first trip to Disney World was in 1999 on a high school trip with 150 other classmates. I cannot say that I fell in love with Disney World during that time, I was too interested in being several states away from home and having the freedom to explore the world of Disney on my own. I can say that this trip to Disney sparked my interest in travel and a desire to find adventure in life. I remember walking through Epcot’s World Showcase, taking in each country with wide eyes and feeling a passion build inside me to see more. Two years later I was visiting some of the original places Disney based their country pavilions off of: St. Mark’s Square in Venice, Italy, British pubs on cobblestone streets in the U.K, the Eiffel tower in Paris, France. Visiting the Neuschwanstein Castle in in Bavaria, Germany gave me an  understanding as to why Walt Disney would want to replicate it’s beauty. Being in Disney World today not only reminds me of the happy memories that I have made there with my family, but also of the other wonderful places that I have experienced in my life. It may sound silly but I am so thankful to Disney World for recreating some of my favorite places from around the world so I can re-experience them since traveling abroad frequently is not as easy to do. I have been able to share my passion for travel and new experiences with my family at Disney World and it’s one of the greatest gifts I can give them.

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I’ll admit, I take being a travel agent specializing in all things Disney very seriously and therefore insist on my family and I being up to date on the latest and greatest that Disney has to offer. We love trying new resorts, restaurants and excursions! We’ve been to Walt Disney World several times and stayed at all 3 tiers of resorts (value, moderate & deluxe). We’ve also cruised on the finest fleet of cruise ships on the seas: the Disney Cruise Lines. Although we haven’t yet experienced Aulani by Disney in Hawaii, we have been to Hawaii and are familiar with the islands.

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I am a vegetarian and have had a peanut allergy when I was younger and know the importance of being prepared for dining while on vacation. I have done extensive homework in being knowledgeable of Disney World restaurant menus so I can ensure that my family and my clients have enjoyable meals that are stress-free. Disney World has always taken excellent care toward making sure that I have had delicious, thoughtfully prepared meals and I love being able to share that with clients.

For the past few years I have been helping family, friends and clients plan their Disney vacations as a  College of Disney Knowledge graduate.  Whether it’s setting sail on a Disney Cruise, looking for excitement with Adventures by Disney, walking in Walt’s steps at Disneyland, taking in the beauty of Hawaii at Disney’s Aulani, or the magical parks and resorts of Disney World, it is my passion to show you the magic that is Disney!

I am thankful for Ashley and Confessions of a Mouskaholic has offered to feature me on her wonderful blog so that I can share my love for Disney with all of you! I am more than happy to take on questions that you may have and I hope to pass on some of my favorite tips and tricks so you can enjoy your own Disney vacations a little more.

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If you’re interested in assistance planning your own magical Disney vacation please contact me. My services are FREE and I can do all of the work so you can have fun! You can like my page at www.facebook.com/MichelleDisneyTravel or email me at Michelle@charmingtravelsllc.com.  I post current promotional rates along with reviews & tips on my facebook page daily that you’re sure to love!

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