Top 10 Reasons to Use a Travel Agent

Top 10 Reasons to Use a Travel Agent

Now, more than ever, travelers are seeking assistance from travel professionals with planning their future vacations. With so much uncertainty in the world, having an expert in your corner helping you every step of the way not only helps to give you peace of mind when planning your trip, but it also ensures that you will be able to rest easy knowing that  your Travel Agent has thought of everything for you.

So, why should you use a Travel Agent?

  1. You won’t pay anything additional for your vacation package when you book with a Travel Agent versus booking your vacation directly through the destination. Utilizing an expert that can personalize your entire vacation is truly invaluable; the expertise and knowledge you’ll gain from using an agent will help ensure your vacation is as relaxing and worry-free as possible!
  2. Using a Travel Agent is a huge time-saver! There are way more important things you could be doing than wasting time comparing prices on countless confusing travel websites.
  3. Travel Agents have access to quickly find deals and special offers that may not be clearly visible for you to find in your searches.
  4. You can’t beat the customer service when you book with a Travel Agent. You’ll never get an automated answering service when you call your Travel Agent. Need suggestions or help sorting something out? You’ll get through to your agent a lot quicker than you would if you booked through some of those websites you search through. And your agent will do everything they can to help you get what you need, stat!
  5. Your Travel Agent will be your main point of contact from the time you start planning until after you return from your trip. They can also be as much (or as little) involved in the planning process as you’d like them to be.
  6. Not sure where you want to travel? Your Travel Agent will help you come up with some great ideas for destinations, while also keeping your budget in mind.
  7. Your Travel Agent will follow up and follow through to see that all of your special needs and requests are met whenever possible, as well as make sure you are aware about any deals that you may be entitled to.
  8. When you use a Travel Agent, you can rest assured that in the event something goes wrong on your trip or you have an emergency requiring last minute changes, your Travel Agent will be there to do the legwork for you so you don’t need to worry about any of that.
  9. Most online travel booking sites require you to pay your entire trip cost up front, regardless of when you book. When you book with a Travel Agent, you may be able to set up a payment plan to make smaller payments over time.
  10. Travel Agents love what they do and truly value your business!

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Volcano Bay Re-Opening Updates

Volcano Bay Re-Opening Updates

Volcano Bay at Universal Orlando Resort is re-opening this week!!! Team Members had a chance to preview the new operations for re-opening today. Here’s what we know so far – please keep in mind that this is subject to change at any time and I’ll do my best to keep you informed.

Upon arriving to the park, your temperature will be checked, then you’ll head to security. Once you’ve cleared both of these areas, you’ll be allowed to board the bus where a team member will ensure parties are seating at least 6 feet apart from one another. Take note of the social distancing markers on the ground as you approach the line for the bus. Masks are required from the moment you arrive at Universal Orlando Resort until after you enter Volcano Bay.

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When you arrive at the entrance of Volcano Bay, your ticket will be scanned and a team member wearing a mask and gloves will give you your Tapu Tapu. Once you have received your Tapu Tapu and have entered the park, you only need to wear a mask when you’re by the lockers, restaurants and merchandise stores.

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If you plan to rent a locker, you’ll see that locker area has social distancing markers on the ground. They are only letting 10 guests at a time into the locker area. To limit capacity and safely expedite this process for all guests, please have only ONE guest from the party bring your belongings to your locker. The locker will be yours for the day; they will be sanitizing them at the end of the day when the park closes.

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For the lazy and rapid river, once you get out of the water, you put your life jacket in the bin provided. A team member will be taking them aside to be properly sanitized before hanging them up for reuse.

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The cabanas at Volcano Bay will be available for rent. The only change from their previous policies is that the family cabanas will be capped at 10 people rather than 16.

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As previously mentioned, you will need to wear your mask when you’re near the dining locations. For the larger dining locations with seating areas, a line will form and they will pull parties one at a time to seat them in an area to maintain social distancing. There are team members sanitizing the tables after each use before seating the next party.

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Side note, which is SUPER IMPORTANT… Don’t skip the ice cream at Volcano Bay… it is SO GOOD You can choose up to 3 different flavors swirled together for cones or cups! The cone pictured in here is from Koka Poroka – highly recommend!!! This was vanilla/blue raspberry/pineapple!!

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Universal Orlando Updates

Universal Orlando Updates

We are excited to bring you a few updates on the new guidelines for the reopening of Universal Orlando! Remember things are constantly changing so be sure to ask your Living With The Magic Vacations travel planner if you have any questions!

Getting into Universal Orlando: Once you enter the park (every other car), you will have your temperature screening before heading to security. Then you can pick your park and head to the gates. No fingerprint will be needed to enter the parks, your ticket will simply be scanned. Be sure to pay attention to the social distancing marks on the ground at each of these aforementioned areas.

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 Social distancing marks on the ground all through the queue

Lockers: lockers are sanitized after every use, also after someone uses a locker, that locker is than blocked out for around 3 hours and can’t be used by another guest.

Hand sanitizer is given put before getting on your vehicle by an attractions attendant.

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Masks are required everywhere in the parks, even on attractions.

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 There are social distancing markers on the ground, and in some cases, there may be a rope to ensure you maintain your distance from characters. You’ll have to take selfies or have someone in your party take your picture as character attendants will not be permitted to take photos with your phones or cameras. You do have to wear your mask when meeting characters, even if you are distanced. It also looks like they’re grouping characters together to take one great picture.

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 When entering restaurants you instantly run into a hand sanitizer dispenser. Next you will be told where to be seated for social distancing, and you will order at your table from the app.

The dining plan doesn’t work on the mobile app yet* so if you have a dining plan, ONE person from your party will walk up through the line and pay with your dining plan at the register.

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Universal will be utilizing virtual lines via their mobile app, as well as through virtual line kiosks they’ve set up at the parks in the event someone doesn’t have the app. If an attraction has a virtual line, that is the only way you currently can get into the line. If you do not have a virtual line reservation, you will not be allowed to join the line. You may only join one virtual line at a time. Single rider lines are not operating at this time. If you’re staying at one of Universal’s resorts that entitles you and your party to Universal Express Unlimited, you may enter the lines as you normally would.

BONUS! Hagrid’s now will use the Virtual Line Feature!

Epic Character Race Packages

Epic Character Race Packages

As an avid runDisney runner and a long time Universal Orlando fan, I have been not so secretly hoping for a Universal Orlando race series.   I started getting my hopes up last year with the inaugural Minions run at Universal Hollywood.

And then it happened.  Universal Orlando announced their Epic Character Race 5k & 10k for February 1st and 2nd of 2020.

The races will consist of a 5k on Saturday, February 1st. This race will wind through Universal Studios Florida and hit some of the backlot.   The 10k will be on Sunday and will hit both Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure.  

While the course maps and characters have not been released yet. It makes my Universal heary giddy to think of the potential run through Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.  Through the Streets of New York and or Hollywood or the crazy curves of Suess Landing. 

While the races are currently open to register for Annual Passholders only. Universal Orlando has released Epic Character run Packages that will allow non-passholders early registration access.  With a minimum of a three night stay at Universal Orlando resorts you can secure your registration and have all the benefits of staying with Universal. Plus they truly have a price range for every budget.

There are options for both the standard registration and the VIP registrations for both the 5k and the 10k.  The VIP registrations jnclude a Post race breakfast, commemorating water bottle and exclusive charcter meet and greets and photo op.

For non-runners Universal Orlando has got you too with the Epic fan registration which includes reserved seating and complimentary snacks to cheer on your favorite runner or just to watch the action.

It looks to be, ahem, an Epic time and you know Inaugural races are always the best. With the race distances being 5k and 10k, you don’t have to be Fast or Furious to take part 

I’m going! Who wants to join me? Contact me today to get your Epic Character Race Package quote or for more details.  

Suzanne Prevost

Traveling with Allergies

Traveling with Allergies

It’s vacation time!  You’re excited for a break but also hesitant to leave what you know. When traveling with food allergies or intolerances, it means more work for you or trusting someone else to cook for you or your child. Nothing is more terrifying than putting your trust in someone else to make your food.  

A few of my favorite places to travel are Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando. Over the last 7 years of having food allergies and celiac disease, I have found ways to make a visit easier. I am not a doctor, but I have found things that work for me. 

  I always make sure I have prepackaged snacks with me. For me, I like bringing individual peanut butter and graham crackers or protein bars like RX Bars and Larabars. Sunbutter makes an individual serving size also if you have peanut allergies. 

   Order groceries from an online grocery service such as Instacart, Shipt or Amazon Prime Now. This way you can order products you know are safe for you. It also helps save money by being able to order breakfast food for the room. 

  If you’re packing a lunch, keep in mind you can bring a soft sided cooler. Ice will need to be in the form of ice packs or baggies filled with ice.  No glass containers are allowed. 

  Pack antibacterial hand wipes. It’s great for when you’re in line and want a snack. It’s also handy for wiping down tables when you eat. Helps get rid of anything left behind on the tables.

Always follow your allergy action plan and bring medicine you require!  Bring your Epi Pen if you have one. 

If your allergies make it hard, pack some homemade seasoning or individual ketchup packets that are safe for you. 

No matter if you choose to pack your own meals or eat out for everything, have an amazing vacation and make memories!  

Dining at Universal Studios and Walt Disney Word. 

Disney and Universal are both great places to dine at. They help take away the fear of eating out by training their chefs in allergy protocol. The chefs at these theme parks have a great understanding of how to keep you safe! Keep in mind, Universal hotels are good also but do not have Universal trained chefs at the hotels.  

To help make your theme park dining experience more enjoyable, here are a few tips and tricks to consider. Each park has their own list because they do things a little different. 

Tips for Dining at Universal Resort 

1. Email special diets before you go. 

2. When ordering, ask to speak with a manager or chef 

3. Help the chef by voicing what you are hoping for or what you like to help them come up with a meal. 

4. Remember your goal is a safe meal.  Have measured expectations. You will hopefully get a delicious & safe meal.  Some meals will exceed your expectations & some will fall flat.  

5. If something doesn’t look how you and the chef(or manager) discussed, ask them to double check to make sure it’s safe.  

6. Even though the chefs are trained well, it is still important to keep your Epi Pen with you! 

Tips for dining at Walt Disney World           

1. When making reservations, note your allergies on the reservation. 

2. If you have more than 4 allergies or allergies out of the top 8, email special diets to let them know. Make sure to download and fill out the form. 

3. When you go to the restaurant, make sure to ask to speak with a manager or chef. 

4. Help the chef by voicing what you are hoping for or what you like to help them come up with a meal. 

5. Remember your goal is a safe meal.  Have measured expectations. You will hopefully get a delicious & safe meal.  Some meals will exceed your expectations & some will fall flat. 

6. If something doesn’t look how you and the chef(or manager) discussed, ask them to double check to make sure it’s safe. 

7. Even though the chefs are trained well, it is still important to keep your Epi Pen with you! 

Make sure to thank the chef for making a safe meal and enjoy!! 

Contact Kelly