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Florida

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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j.n. ding darling national wildlife refuge, sanibel, florida

Flickr/cletch

As winter maintains an icy grip on the East Coast for a few more weeks, we like the idea of following the birds south to sunny Sanibel. Just off the coast of Fort Myers in Florida, Sanibel has seen a resurgence in national and international tourism in recent years, thanks to its year-round sun and white, sandy Gulf beaches. It’s a quieter, more relaxing, and very affordable scene here compared to the hubbub along the state’s eastern coast — ideal for those seeking to stay active but low-key, all the while enjoying fine dining and great shopping. Here’s how to make the most of the area’s expansive nature and golden warmth.

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YVE Hotel Miami downtown deals

YVE Hotel Miami

Bunking in a brand-new hotel near the beach for $169 per night this spring? Yes, please!

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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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affordable polo events

International Polo Club

Polo is considered the sport of kings, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t indulge in this spectacle steeped in tradition at everyday prices. One of the oldest team sports in history — and one of the most dangerous in the world — polo combines the skillful mastery of eight horses galloping down the field at 30 miles per hour, along with an excuse to drink copious amounts of champagne and wear frilly hats.

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America’s 5 Best Detox Spa Resorts

Mi Amo

When your energy has been depleted by stress, seek out a healthy way to decompress in the comfort of a destination spa resort. Spa treatments, fitness classes, and health coaching can revive your spirits and reclaim your energy — and many of these activities are included in the cost. So power down your cell phone and power up on a retreat that will help you reconnect with your well-being.

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Deal Alert: Key West Hotel for $41/Night per Person in Winter

facebook.com/NYAHotels

Whether you crave a slice of key lime pie, a tour of Ernest Hemingway’s former home, or simply a chaise on the beach, Key West offers all that — in a super-hip, laid-back kind of way. And that’s precisely the vibe captured at NYAH, which stands for “Not Your Average Hotel.” This less than year-old property boasts artisan appeal and budget prices, even in winter. For best savings, bring a bunch of your friends. Here’s a breakdown of the room rates and offerings.

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The Pearl/Preferred Hotel Group

There’s the Florida Panhandle you think you know — the Spring Breaker in Panama City Beach scene — and then there’s the sophisticated, hip foodie towns. This includes Rosemary Beach, an eco-friendly master development community with a brand-new boutique hotel, boasting some attractive high season sales to boot.

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unique souvenirs - best museum gift shops

Clockwise from left: Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Anthropology, Museum of Modern Art, Musical Instrument Museum, Dali Museum, Musical Instrument Museum

Most vacations aren’t complete without a little shopping, whether for yourself or for friends and family back home, right?

A survey conducted by the U.S. Travel Association revealed 63 percent of travelers said their vacation wasn’t complete without including some shopping. For a one-stop shop experience, whether you’re looking for a gift for a loved one or a memento of your trip, museum gift shops hold the key. There you’ll find handcrafted, high-quality souvenirs, in a wide range of prices. We’ve gathered some suggestions from a few great museums. (Some items you can even order online without leaving home, but what fun is that?)

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orlando - ice at gaylord palms - kimberly button

Want to be somewhere warm this season without giving up the holiday cheer? We introduced some surprising destinations for getting into the spirit of things earlier this week, including some sunny locales, but we wanted to give Orlando — the third most popular holiday travel destination in America — a special spotlight today. Yes, it’s a balmy 70-plus degrees here this time of the year, but you’ll still find plenty of Christmas classics here. You can still throw a snowball or pretend you’re in a snow flurry — with palm trees and a swimming pool never too far away.

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yoga - royal caribbean

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. 

If you know who Lady Mary, Tom Branson, and the Earl of Grantham are, read on. Crystal Cruises has taken the wraps off a two-night, post-cruise trip to the land of Downton, themed after the popular series about early 20th century English aristocrats. It’s an extension of the luxury line’s 17-night cruise departing July 8, 2015 from Reykjavik to London. Cruisers, who will pay $4,600 per person for the land tour (we never said it was cheap), will live like royalty while visiting Highclere Castle, the fictional home of the Grantham clan. They’ll arrive in vintage 1920s cars (chauffeured, of course) and be guests of honor at a private champagne reception and tour, among other Downton-related activities. Cruise fares on this itinerary — which crosses the Arctic Circle on its way to London — start at $1,730 per person if booked by January 2.

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McAdenville - north carolina - Flickr-Annie Hall

Postcard holiday scenes often involve beautiful blankets of white snow, evoking images of cozy northern towns and ski resort havens. But who would have thought that regions like California’s Newport Beach, or the southern town of Woodstock in Virginia, are teeming with holiday cheer this time of the year, too? Here, a few surprising destinations for getting into the holiday spirit.

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Flickr Sam Howzit Disney Great Movie Ride

Change is coming to one of the original rides at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

According to The New York Times, Disney and cable channel Turner Classic Movies (TCM) are entering an agreement that would allow TCM to freshen up The Great Movie Ride as early as the first few months of 2015.

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