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Florida

cakes - mickey - © Disney

One of the biggest assets that set Disney World apart from its competitors is the level of service the company delivers to guests. It’s no secret that the iconic resorts offers exclusive hours and transportation, but here are 10 lesser known services offered by the House of Mouse.

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The Resort at Longboat Key Club

In what has become an annual highly anticipated sale, dozens of hotels and resorts have gotten into the Black Friday and Cyber Monday game, offering deals that must be booked either the day after Thanksgiving (November 28 this year) or the following Monday (December 1) for varying days of travel.

We’ve got the scoop on so many great travel deals for this year’s sales that we’re trying something different. Instead of one big, overwhelming list, we’re sharing themed roundups for easier vacation planning. First up is the Beach edition — whether you yearn for bustling Waikiki Beach in Hawaii or Florida’s quiet Gulf Coast side, you’ll find 30-75 percent discounts next week.

Mark your calendars, then check back in the coming days for our Urban, International, and Adventure editions.

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Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach

The legendary Palm Beach area in Florida can be pricey. After all, it’s where millionaires and billionaires come to see and be seen. But you don’t need a checking account with seven figures to get a taste of the luxury they enjoy.

Setting up a home base at the Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa is a great way to be close to the action and the jet set crowd — but still feel at ease and skip the traffic and congestion of the most populated spots. The luxurious all-suite condominium property is located on an oceanfront of Riviera Beach, just a short drive away from Palm Beach. One- and two-bedroom digs start at just $250 for two to four guests, making the AAA four-diamond resort affordable for couples, families, reunions, and even girlfriend getaways — especially if you crave more space than a standard hotel room offers, you’ll feel right at home. Here’s why we loved it during a recent stay, and why we think you will too:

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4132910198_50b9d465b1_zThe best things about birdwatching? You can do it at almost any time of the year, it can be a relaxing break from a packed travel itinerary, and it’s often a fairly low-cost activity. With migratory birds on the move or already at the their winter habitats, now is the perfect time to grab a pair of binoculars (and field guide) and explore some of the nation’s best bird watching destinations. Here are some of our favorites…

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Flickr Anthony Quintano AulaniWalt Disney World and Disneyland are clearly the top places to visit to get your Disney fix. But if you’re not craving a trip to either California or Florida — or you’ve already been — there are other places to have a top-notch Disnified experience — besides your local Disney store.

From three stand-alone resorts, where the company’s legendary service and hospitality are at the forefront, to a museum dedicated to all things Disney, here are four destinations where you can get your Disney fix.

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andrew

If Andrew W.K.’s hits “Party Hard” and “Party Party Party” are any indication, the rock star definitely knows how to have a good time. In true festive fashion, he recently served as Stoli Vodka’s Resident Professor of the Party, celebrating 35 years of nightlife at The Pyramid Club in Manhattan on October 28. During an exclusive interview, Andrew tipped his party hat to us by sharing his top 10 places to throw it down in America.

See below for Andrew’s top picks, and check out the ScenesbyStoli website to nominate your favorite bars and nightlife destinations if they didn’t make his list!

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Flickr Coast Guard News2

National wildlife refuges — protected lands managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service — offer many of the same recreational opportunities as national parks at a fraction of the cost. Some are even free, unless you plan to hunt, fish, or camp. We love these (mostly) gratis activities for experiencing the wilderness in a whole new way:

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chocolate - christine dayao

For some, Chocolate Day is every day, but one chocoholic went the extra mile and declared October 28 as National Chocolate Day. Here are just four of the sweetest places to celebrate:

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Kimpton_0007_620x400

Kimpton Hotels & Restaurant’s annual Karma Rewards Sale is back! This means the boutique hotel group is offering its lowest rates of the year — starting as low as $99 at some properties — along with double stay credit. To take advantage of the special rates, you’ll have to become a Karma Rewards member, but joining is free.

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Daytona Beach2

After shedding an unfortunate reputation for being a go-to destination for raucous spring breakers in the ‘90s and early 2000s, Daytona Beach has become a year-round destination for couples and families. And it’s more than just sand and strip malls — there’s visiting the Museum of Arts and Sciences, working on your swing at the many mini golf courses, tackling a zipline course, and getting suited up like a professional racecar driver during the Richard Petty Driving Experience at the Daytona International Speedway.

As guests of the Daytona Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, we recently got the chance to taste the destination’s revival for ourselves. Here are the highlights of what we found:

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KaskadesSuiteMiami

Opening on December 1, Gale Suites at Kaskades will be an all-suite newly restored wing of Miami’s retro-luxe Gale South Beach, which itself opened just two years ago. Read more

DIStop

For decades, race fans have flocked to the Daytona International Speedway to watch history being made, from moments of speedster glory as well as tragedy — most notably the passing of legendary driver Dale Earnhardt in 2001. (Since his untimely death in 2001 after crashing in the Daytona 500, he’s been immortalized with a statue that stands proudly at the front of the Speedway’s Visitors Center.) Even for the biggest racing fans, though, attending most events has largely been a day-trip affair, thanks to a lack of on-site lodging (although there are plenty of hotels and entertainment options just minutes away from the Speedway, and some Daytona 500 spectators have been known to set up shop in RVs and campers on the infield).

That’s all about to change in the next year or two. Two major projects, slated to be completed by 2016, will transform the Speedway into its very own multi-day destination with much more beyond the nearly mile-long stadium.

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Florida - Fort Lauerdale - W Hotel - Pool Deck - 620x400

Looking for an excuse to get away? With this offer from the AAA 4-Diamond W Fort Lauderdale, you won’t need one. The chic oceanfront property is beckoning guests to pay South Florida a visit this season with its Any Occasion Celebration offer, which starts at $270 per night. That saves you 25 percent compared with rates over the busy winter and spring seasons.

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Flickr Sam Howzit 2

If you’ve ever been to Disney World, you know that vacations to the “most magical place on Earth” aren’t exactly cheap. Sticker shock can be a common result of tallying up prices for  basics like hotel rooms, park tickets, and dining — and that’s before adding in extras like tours and special events.

But if you think that there are never savings to be had when it comes to Disney vacations, we’re letting you in on a secret: You’re just looking at the wrong times. During the low season, not only do hotel rates drop, but Disney itself releases special offers for is biggest fans. Promotions include room-only discounts, packages, and even a free dining plan — over which guests unsurprisingly go completely bonkers. And that’s not to mention significantly shorter wait times for attractions. As you might guess, this is definitely the time of the year that we recommend visiting.

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Wyndham Deerfield Beach Resort Florida 2

It’s no secret that hotel room rates are rising – prices shot up five percent in the first six months of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013. The good news is that there are still a few tried-and-true ways to lower the costs.

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