Shermanstravel Blog

Disney

Disneyland Sleeping Beauty Castle

Flickr/HarshLight

On July 17, 1955, the world was introduced to a new force in family entertainment and vacations: Disneyland. Though many critics predicted that it would fail, the park’s millionth guest passed through the gates just seven weeks after its debut. Since then, Disneyland has set the standard for the theme park industry, eventually paving the way for nearly a dozen more Disney parks around the world.

A second park, Disney California Adventure, was added to the Anaheim complex in early 2001, delivering a completely different experience. Here, on the resort’s 60th anniversary, we take a look at some of the major differences between the two.

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Anaheim 1from Facebook 3

The Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel/Facebook

Having recently undergone the shift in management from Sheraton to an independent hotel company, the Anaheim Majestic Garden Hotel reopened for business this past May, in preparation for kicking off Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary. We recently checked into the newly revamped resort — and found the property to be much more than a crash pad for the theme park. Here’s our full report.

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Cars Land - Flickr - harshlight 1

Flickr/harshlight

If you haven’t made your way to Disneyland or Disney California Adventure on the West Coast in the past five years, we’d say you’re due for a visit. Celebrating its 60th Anniversary this year, Disneyland has upped the ante with vast improvements to many of its attractions, along with major updates. Here are our favorite additions from the last half-decade.

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Flickr wiredforlego  HarshLight

Flickr/wiredforlego/HarshLight

Planning a trip to Southern California and can’t decide between Disneyland and LEGOLAND? We break down the differences, and here’s what you need to know. Read more

Fort Lauderdale Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa pool

Fort Lauderdale Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa

What’s one of the best ways to nab hotel savings in Florida? Go during the summer. If you can stand the heat and humidity of the Sunshine State during the next few months, you’ll be rewarded with ultra-cool savings. Try one of these seven deals, from as low as $73 per night.

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water bottles

pixabay.com

Which cruise lines are making headlines this week? Travel journalist Donna Tunney — ShermansTravel’s cruise expert — has all the latest news. Check back every Tuesday for trends, new amenities, and money-saving ideas that help you plan a perfect vacation at sea.

A crackdown on sneaking alcohol onboard.
Starting July 9, Carnival Cruise Line will no longer permit guests to bring bottled non-alcoholic beverages onboard during embarkation. It’s an attempt to speed up embarkation, they say — having to examine all bottled beverages, thanks to guests attempting to smuggle alcohol on board, causes delays. Guests will still be able to bring up to 12 unopened cans or cartons of non-alcoholic beverages, plus, per old policy, one bottle of unopened wine per person on embarkation day.

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Deal Alert: Disney World Offers Free Dining Plan for Select Fall Stays

Flickr/Anthony Quintano

When it comes to planning a trip to Walt Disney World, there are three important things you have to worry about: the hotel stay, park tickets, and food. Fortunately if you’re thinking of vacationing at the resort later this year, you might be able to cross food off your list of expenses.

Disney World is offering its immensely popular free dining plan promotion for stays on select dates between August 28 and December 21 – essentially giving you free food for your entire stay. That’s a savings of at least a $42 per person, per night, depending on which dining plan you choose.

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Deal Alert: $84+ Rates at Downtown Disney Resort Area Hotels in May and June

Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista

In just a little over a month, the resorts at Walt Disney World will get into the full swing of high summer rates. Luckily, there’s one way you can stay in the thick of the magic without having to fork over too much dough: Book a stay at the Downtown Disney Resort Area Hotels. Conveniently located at the resort’s shopping and dining district, these hotels provide complimentary shuttle service to each of the Disney theme parks and water parks, on-site Disney tickets for purchase, the ability to book dining reservations at Disney restaurants, and a booklet filled with discounts on dining, entertainment, and shopping.

What’s more, for stays between May 1 and June 21, the hotels are offering reduced rates with a Spring into the Magic promotion, starting at just $84 per night. But hurry — two of the seven hotels no longer have availability foor the special rates. Here’s a sample of the best that are still bookable that we’ve come across.

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Adventures by Disney Gets into the River Cruise Business

Adventures by Disney

Disney is setting sail once again — but not on the seas via its own beloved cruise line. Adventures by Disney, the company’s family touring arm, is partnering with river cruise company AmaWaterways for four sailings on the Danube River in 2016.

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8 Disney Cruise Line Freebies to Snap Up

Christine Dayao

We’d be lying if we said we didn’t keep an eye out for freebies on a Disney vacation. They just make the whole trip a lot more, well, magical. We already gathered some tips for what you can nab gratis, like pins, birthday cards, and more. But when we recently sailed aboard Disney Cruise Line, we discovered even more opportunities for more free goodies on the ships. Here’s what you can find and where:

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Know Before You Go Disney Cruise Line Lingo

Flickr/Josh Hallett

MagicBand, FastPass+, and Magical Express. Disney is notorious for coming up with imaginative names for almost every single one of its concepts. So it didn’t come as a shock in 1998 when Disney Cruise Line took to the sea with some unique monikers for its onboard offerings.

Here, eight Disney Cruise Line names and phrases you should know before you go.

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Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista, downtown disney hotel deals

Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista

Want to stay a stone’s throw away from the action of the Walt Disney World Resort without paying those infamously high hotel prices? Your best bet is book a stay at the nearby Downtown Disney Resort Area Hotels: a collection of seven properties within walking distance of the free-to-enter Downtown Disney shopping and dining district.

Included with a stay at any of the properties is complimentary shuttle service to each of the Disney theme parks and water parks, on-site Disney tickets for purchase, the ability to book dining reservations at Disney restaurants, and a booklet filled with discounts on dining, entertainment, and shopping.

Plus, through the end of March, the hotels are offering reduced rates with its Escape the Cold promotion to make stays here even more tempting. With it, rates start at $73 a night, depending on the property. Here’s a look at what’s being offered during the promotion:

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stuffed animals souvenirs at disney world

Flickr/chuckwaters83

What’s the best way to take home a piece of the magic when you visit Walt Disney World? A souvenir, naturally. With more than 200 retail locations to browse — from brick and mortar stores to carts selling clothes, designer bags, artisan soaps, and unique knickknacks — Disney World is a shopper’s paradise. Here, we offer pro tips that’ll help make souvenir shopping a lot easier.

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Walt Disney World ticket increase 2015

Flickr/Phil Whitehouse

It’s getting more expensive to get into the four parks at Walt Disney World. One-day tickets for the Magic Kingdom are now going for $105 each, before taxes, for ages 10 and up — about six percent more than the $99 entrance fee before the hikes. One-day passes for the resort’s three other parks  — Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom — are going for $97, plus tax (a more modest increase from $94).

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Disney World Magic Kingdom CREDIT Flickr fortherock

Flickr/fortherock

If you’ve ever tried to plan a Disney vacation, you know that it’s no small feat. There’s the decision of staying on property versus off, what kind of tickets you’ll buy, and where you’ll be eating — not to mention getting organized for FastPass+ reservations. While we’ve shared advice for these specific topics and more, we thought we’d also offer a few more general tools to help you. After all, stressing out over over planning defeats the very purpose of taking a holiday, no?

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