Thursday, April 23, 2015

Travel Insurance ~ What is it, do I really need it and when should I add it?

Travel Insurance ~
What is it, do I really need it and when should I add it?

When you purchase travel from a Travel Agent one of the questions they will ask you is, “Do you want Travel Insurance?” Good question!!!!

Travel Insurance is insurance to protect you if anything happens that affects your travel plans. Travel Insurance can protect your vacation financial investment if for reasons of illness or family emergency you can’t travel. It can also cover trip delays, lost luggage, and medical emergencies while on vacation and even trip cancelation due to weather. The weather coverage is especially nice if you are doing a cruise during Hurricane Season (June-November). If your travel plans are interrupted all you lose is the insurance premium not the entire vacation savings. That way you are free to reschedule another trip right away.

Disney Company uses Travelex Insurance services. When booking make sure you look at the Travel Insurance offered and see what it covers and what is excluded for your particular package. I suggest making sure you think about your family situation. Do you have anybody in your travel group or family that is elderly or ill? Could their health effect your plans and make you cancel your trip? I think about my elderly mother-in-love when considering Travel Insurance. If something happens to her I would change my plans no matter what the cost. Are you going during seasons where weather could affect your travel plans? I think of travel delays caused by winter storms and hurricanes when considering the need.

Many really good Travel Agents will suggest you add Travel Insurance when you book your trip. This is good because you know you are covered right from the start if for any reason your plans change. But, read on my travel buddies! There are problems with this! There are reasons to rethink if you need it and when to add it.

Yes, I believe Travel Insurance is a good decision for most people. If you are young, health and your extended family is healthy you may want to skip insurance. So when to add it is the question! Disney allows you to add Travel Insurance to your trips booked with them up to the time you make your last payment. So if you wish to pay for your vacation in full hold off $50 and wait until the last day. Go purchase a Disney Gift Card for $50 and use it to hold off paying if you want to make sure you don’t spend it for anything else. Then add the Travel Insurance with that final payment but not before!

Disney understands that plans change and people plan a year in advance or more to go on their Disney Vacation. Things happen and people need to cancel their reservations. That is why Disney allows you to cancel your reservations with no penalty in most cases up to the stated cancellation date. (Some reservations do have a no cancellation policy so read before your book and ask your Travel Agent.) You will get the entire amount refunded to you.

So why wait to add Travel Insurance if Disney understands that you might have to cancel? Because if you have paid for insurance you will lose the premium for the insurance even if you cancel before the stated cancellation date. So wait! You will not lose any money if you cancel and if you don’t cancel you can add it with the final payment protecting yourself when you need it most, when you are past the cancellation date and traveling.

Long post just to say, Travel Insurance is a good thing to have but wait until time for your final payment to add it so if you cancel before that you don’t lose the price of the insurance premium. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Disney Cruise or Walt Disney World? How to Decide?

Disney Cruise or Walt Disney World? How to Decide?

Trying to decide between a Disney Cruise and a Walt Disney World vacation? Both are wonderful vacations! Think a stay at Walt Disney World is cheaper than a Disney Cruise? It can be if you stay at a value resort, eat only quick service and do not go to any shows such as La Nouba that cost extra. You can add a dinning plan but that brings the price of a Walt Disney World stay up near the cost of a Disney Cruise. If mom and dad want grownup time without the kids you either need to take someone along with you on vacation to watch the kids or pay for child care services at the resort. Room Service not included, any extra snacks come out of pocket.

The Disney Cruise Line lets you pay know up front what your entire vacation will cost. Once you pay the cruise fare you don’t have to spend a dime more if you don’t wish too. 100% of food and entertainment is included. For soda you will need to make trips to the pool deck to refill at the soda fountain if you want a soda between meals or to take to your room, but it is there and free. Even room service is included! Free Kids Clubs for all children ages 3 (and potty trained) to 17! Hours for the kids clubs are the longest at sea and are 9 am to midnight and 11 am to 2 am for teens.

Are there costs above the Cruise Fare? Yes! The adult only restaurants, Palo and Remy’s do charge (Palo $30, Remy $65-75) if you want but even with one meal the price is not outrageous. Take soda, coffee or tea with you into a lounge and listen to the music, dance, play adult trivia or listen to a comedy show. Or you can spend extra and purchase an alcoholic beverage of your choice. Port Adventures to explore your Ports of Call do cost extra but you can just get off and walk around the port area if you wish. Spa and Salon treatments are an additional charge.

With a Disney Cruise you can pay in advance for your Port Adventures, Spa/Salon treatments and Adult Restaurants. You can add wine packages that allow you to purchase a predetermined number of bottles of wine to have with dinner. This way you can budget for them. If you don’t want to pay in advance you can keep track of the costs and know what funds you need to bring.

Other than the above stated extra costs the only other thing to spend on is merchandise. Many of the ports have good deals on jewelry and other local crafts. There are shops on the ships where you can purchase many wonderful items, some that you can find in the parks.

In my opinion a Disney Cruise is an easier to budget for vacation. With a Disney Parks stay you have to consider many variables that are not included. The cruise adds most of them in and those it does not you can generally figure out the amount you will need to bring. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Cinderella ~ Review

Cinderella ~ Review

This is a spoiler filled review. The reason is it’s been out for a while.

The story of Cinderella is an ancient one. Loving parents teach young Ella that courage, kindness and believing lead to good things happening. Tragedy strikes and mother dies. After years of father being lonely yet raising Ella with love and hope he decides he wants to try for personal happiness again and remarries.

The step mother and her daughters are vain and selfish. From the moment they arrive they treat the beautiful estate as if it was a hovel and Ella as if she is a simpleton. Ella responds with kindness and believes they will eventually accept her. They complain about everything. Soon after father goes on a business trip and he dies leaving the beautiful Ella at the whim of her step-mother.

Ella remembers the words of her mother and father and tries to live a life of courage and kindness. She shows joy in the little things and strives only to make others happy. Yet, she is not a doormat. She chooses to do the right thing even if that is not the way it has been done by others. After her father dies things get worse for Ella. Now living in the attic and doing all the work of running the estate for her uncaring step mother and sisters. They start calling her Cinderella because of the ashes on her face from sleeping next to the fire to stay warm.

At one point Ella has had enough of the abuse and starts to run away. She takes her horse and rides off into the forest. While there she sees a beautiful Stag. She hears hunters horns and tells the Stag to run. She takes the horse in the other directions leading the men away from the Stag. On the way the horse spooks and bolts off out of control. As she is trying to regain control a young man rides along beside her and helps her. The two talk and make an emotional connection. She tells him to let the Stag go. Men come and start to talk to the young man. He quickly stops them from saying his name. It turns out he is the prince. The prince is smitten with the mystery country girl he ran into. He is intrigued by the woman who will stand firm and fearless saying, “Just because it is always done that way does not make it right.”

The prince is so intrigued he decides to open the ball to all young ladies. He hopes to see the mystery girl he is so taken by. He tells his father he wants to marry for love not for duty. He does not care of the woman is a peasant or a princess.

Of course Lady Tremaine refuses to allow Cinderella to go to the ball and ruins the dress that belonged to her mother that Ella altered. When they leave Cinderella goes outside to cry. As she is weeping she finds an old beggar woman. The old woman asks for a glass of milk and a little kindness. Cinderella kindly gives her a bowl of milk. With that the old woman becomes a beautiful Fairy Godmother! She is ditsy and silly. She takes a pumpkin and turns it into a coach inside a greenhouse destroying it! She turns mice into horses, a goose into a coachmen and lizards into footmen. She alters Cinderella’s dress into a beautiful gown changing it from pink to blue.

Cinderella goes to the ball and spends the evening with the prince. She leaves at the last stroke of midnight and escapes with her coach returning to a pumpkin and smashing on the road on the way home. The prince decides he must marry this young lady who he feels will help strengthen the land with her positive attitude and strength. The search is on!

The king, realizing for the first time he wants his son happy no matter what tells the grand duke to find the young mystery lady. Lady Tremaine finds where Cinderella has hidden not only her one remaining glass slipper but a journal telling about her evening with the prince. Lady Tremaine tells the grand duke about Cinderella and says she is evil charlatan. The two agree to mislead the prince in an attempt to force him to marry a princess. The Grand Duke agrees to reward Lady Tremaine.

During the search the King dies leaving the prince grieving and even more determined to find his mystery girl. Word gets back to the new young king that his Grand Duke is not being diligent in his search. He hides in the soldier accompanying the duke. He is there when the beautiful Ella escapes and asks to have the shoe tested on her foot. His disloyalty is seen by the young king and Ella is found.

As the young king is escorting Ella out of the house Lady Tremaine collapses on the stairs leading up to Ella’s attic room. Ella turns around as she leaves the house and says, “I forgive you.” She never looks back after that. Lady Tremaine and her daughters leave the country never to be seen again.

The king and Ella marry and live happily ever after.