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Sandos SMART Agents Certification | Tonya Walker

Travel Agent Academy, in conjunction with Sandos Hotels & Resorts, is excited to announce Tonya Walker is their newest Sandos SMART Agents Certified agent.

Sandos Hotels & Resorts are known for providing vacationers with unforgettable all-inclusive vacations along the best beaches Mexico has to offer. During this highly interactive and entertaining course, Walker learned about their three distinct experiences – luxury, beach and eco – and how to match the right clients with each.

In addition, Walker learned about all of the options available for Sandos Hotels & Resorts group clients as well as their one-of-a-kind wedding venues.

Graduates of the SMART Agent Program are uniquely qualified with the information they need to better sell the four Sandos Hotels & Resorts in Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Los Cabos.

 

Ready to plan your Mexico Adventure? Connect with Tonya today!

Disney

When should you book your Walt Disney World vacation?

When should you book your Walt Disney World vacation?

Planning a Walt Disney World vacation can be fun and exciting or frustrating and confusing. It all depends on understanding how the different package components work together to give your family the best starting point BEFORE the vacation even begins.

One really important part of the planning process is timing. Even if your family typically enjoys a less structured, more flexible vacation, you’ll still find a benefit in understanding how pre-planning versus last minute planning will affect your overall travel experience.

So when should you book your Walt Disney World vacation? Let’s explore the planning benchmarks and who might benefit most by booking at each interval.

 

One Year in Advance

When you book your Disney vacation package 12+ months in advance you’ll enjoy all the benefits and perks of an on-property Disney stay. You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the planning process, allowing the excitement to build, and not having to wait too, too long for your vacation countdown to commence.

Here are the key benchmarks to consider when planning a year or more in advance:

  • 499 DAYS: You can reserve your Walt Disney World Resort hotel room up to 499 days in advance of your arrival date.
    • Reservations at 499 days must be made by calling Disney directly or working with a Travel Agent.
    • Walt Disney World Resort Packages (room + tickets + dining) may also be booked 499 days in advance IF the packages for the upcoming year have been released. WDW usually releases packages for the next year in the summer, so often there is a delay in being able to book your whole package.
  • 330 DAYS: You can add flights to your Walt Disney World Reservation 330 days in advance of your arrival date. (Flights must be paid for in full at time of booking.)
  • 180 DAYS: You’ll be able to make Advanced Dining Reservations for your Table Service dining choices 6 months out from your trip arrival date.
  • 60 DAYS: At 60 days prior to your arrival date, you’ll be able to make your FastPass+ selections for your park days.
  • 30 DAYS: The final payment for your Walt Disney World Resort package is due 30 days prior to your arrival date.
    • 30 Days also provides the last opportunity to add Travel Protection onto your WDW package. (Travel Protection must be paid for in full once added to your package. It must also be added PRIOR to your final WDW package payment.)
    • Additionally, you will enter ‘penalty period’ – meaning if you must cancel, you will lose some amount of your deposit/payment. (See Disney’s Terms & Conditions for details.)
  • Between 60-15 DAYS: Your Magic Bands and Magic Express Luggage Straps will be shipped to you just in time for your trip.
  • AS AVAILABLE: You’ll be able to monitor all of the available discounts and special offers Disney publishes for your vacation dates. With a booked WDW package, if your chosen resort and package components are eligible, typically you’ll be able to apply the discount/offer to your current booking. This includes Unique Offer Codes which are randomly offered to Guests who are subscribed to WDW’s mailing list.
  • ALONG THE WAY: As soon as you pay your WDW Reservation deposit (room or package), you will be able to begin making interest free payments on your vacation. You can make payments as low as $20 as often as you like.

Who should strongly consider booking ONE YEAR in advance?

  • Families vacationing at Walt Disney World Resort & Parks for the FIRST TIME!
  • Families who want to travel during major holidays, stay at a particular resort or are ready to begin the planning process.
  • Families who want to make interest-free payments on their vacation throughout the year.

 

Six+ Months in Advance

When you book your Walt Disney World Resort package six+ months in advance you’ll be able to take advantage of the majority of the key planning touchpoints – including the Advanced Dining Reservation and FastPass+ Selection dates.

Most discounts or special offers will be published within the three – six month time period, so booking your vacation package 6+ months in advance is ideal for capturing your ideal dining choices AND ensuring you take advantage of discounts/offers.

Who should consider booking 6+MONTHS in advance?

  • Families vacationing at Walt Disney World Resort & Parks for the FIRST TIME!
  • Families who want to reserve the most popular dining locations and times.
  • Families who want to book Disney Vacation Club villas. (Villas usually become available in the 4-6 month time frame.)

 

Three Months in Advance

When you book your Walt Disney World Resort package around the three month timeframe, you will have missed the initial surge of Advanced Dining Reservations, however, you’ll be in time to make your FastPass+ selections when they open at the 60 day mark.

Most discounts or special offers will be published within the three – six month time period, so when booking your vacation package around 3 months you will be on the cusp of the discount period ending.

Many families find themselves planning in this time frame – probably because three months is plenty of time for planning most family vacations in other locations. For a Disney vacation, you’ll still be fine, you may, however, not find your first choices in dining times, resort room views or discounts.

Who should consider booking 3 MONTHS in advance?

  • Return Guests, who are familiar with planning a WDW vacation and who have the opportunity visit Disney World for another trip.

 

One Month or Less in Advance

When you book a Walt Disney World vacation one month or less than your arrival date, you are considered to be booking a “last minute vacation”. Last minute vacations are delightful and fun! Or they can be…as long as you understand your vacation planning process and potentially your vacation experience will be a little different than someone who booked six months or a year out.

First, your Resort and Room View choices may be limited – based on current availability. And just because it’s last minute, doesn’t mean it will be the best price or discounted. More often than not, the discounts and offers for your dates have already expired and you’ll be paying what the hotel industry refers to as ‘rack rate’ (full price).

Next, you’ll be making all of your decisions in rapid succession. Advanced Dining Reservations may be made alongside of your FastPass+ selections. Your dates will already be ‘open’ and you’ll be left with what hasn’t been chosen by families who booked 6+ months out. What does this really mean? Well, if dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table is on your must-do list, a highlight and rite of passage for most families going to Walt Disney World – especially on a first trip, then IF you find an open reservation, it will likely be at 9pm, not the coveted breakfast or 5-6pm dinner time frame.

The full payment for your package will be due at time of booking and you will have passed the time frame for a full refund.

Who should consider booking ONE MONTH or less in advance?

  • Families who wish to visit Walt Disney World and suddenly find out they will be in the Orlando area.
  • Return Guests, who are familiar with planning a WDW vacation and who have the opportunity visit Disney World on a whim.

 

-:|:-TIP-:|:-

If you are planning a last minute trip to Walt Disney World, do the best pre-planning you can with the time you have and then once you arrive at Disney, be flexible with your plans, watch for Dining and FastPass+ selections to become available ‘just in time’ using the My Disney Experience app. Embrace the mantra “Do less and enjoy more!” and set your expectations accordingly.

Using a Travel Agent to help your family plan a Walt Disney World vacation is always a good idea. They can offer their best tried and true tips – no matter when you decide to book.

 

Your Vacation Month One Year Six Months

(Dining & Discounts)

Three Months

(Discounts & FastPass+)

One Month
January January July October December
February February August November January
March March September December February
April April October January March
May May November February April
June June December March May
July July January April June
August August February May July
September September March June August
October October April July September
November November May August October
December December June September November

Whenever you begin your Walt Disney World vacation, you are sure to have a magical time with a little bit of strategic planning!

As a fellow Disney enthusiast and a travel agent who specializes in all things Disney, I love helping families plan their first, second and last minute trips! Let’s connect and work together to plan your Disney trip.

Disney Cruise Line

Book Your Next Disney Cruise While Onboard!

Save on your next Disney Cruise with this exclusive onboard booking offer!

With so much for the whole family to experience, we know you’ll want to sail again. So why wait? As an onboard Guest, you’re entitled to not one, but three money-saving benefits when you book a future Disney cruise before the last night of your current voyage.

When you rebook with Embrace The Journey Travel and your Journey Planner,  you are eligible for our  One Day Rainforest Spa Day Pass and Onboard Credit offer. Please ask the Future Cruise Desk Cast Member (located on Deck 4) to rebook you with your current Journey Planner. Ask for the new reservation confirmation in writing and be sure Embrace The Journey Travel is listed as the agency. Contact your Journey Planner when you get home and begin planning your magical experience!

 

Disney

Disney Announces Winter 2018 Discounts

Play, Stay, Dine and save up to $500* on a 5-night/6-day Walt Disney Travel Company room, ticket and dining plan package for a family of four at select Walt Disney World® Resort hotels for arrivals most nights Jan. 1-March 10, 2018 when you book Oct. 3-Dec. 22, 2017.

When your family purchases this package and stays at a Disney Moderate, Deluxe or Deluxe Villa Resort, they’ll enjoy the Disney Dining Plan, which allows them to savour a variety of delicious dining options. When you purchase this package and stay at a select Disney Value Resort, you’ll get the Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan that offers convenient meals and snacks throughout the Walt Disney World Resort.

*The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Savings based on the non-discounted price for the same package for 2 adults, 1 junior, 1 child in the same room. Tickets valid for one Theme Park per day and must be used within 14 days of first use. First use must be by December 31, 2018. Cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion. Advance reservations required. Offer excludes campsites, 3-bedroom villas, Cabins at Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort—The Little Mermaid standard rooms.

Dining plan excludes gratuities. Children ages 3-9 must order from children’s menu, if available. Some Table-Service restaurants may have limited or no availability at time of package purchase. Theme Park admission is required for some dining locations.

Save up to 25% on rooms at select Walt Disney World® Resort hotels for stays most nights Jan. 1 – April 14, 2018 when you book Oct. 3, 2017 – Jan. 2, 2018.

Embrace the Magic – Let’s begin your adventure!

 

The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Length-of-stay requirements may apply. Savings based on the non-discounted price for the same room. Additional per-adult charges may apply if more than two adults per room at Disney Value, Moderate and Deluxe Resorts. Cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion. Advance reservations required. Offer excludes campsites, 3-bedroom villas, Cabins at Disney’s Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms. 25% savings for select Disney Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts for booking 10/3/17-1/2/18; lower savings may be available for other Resorts.

*Tickets and options must be used within 14 days of first use. First use must be by December 31, 2018.

Alaska

Alaska, The Last Frontier

Alaska, the Last Frontier

When I was planning for our first Alaskan cruise I kept wondering why everyone called Alaska “the Last Frontier”. This fitting moniker of Alaska was evident instantly as we cruised towards our first port of call. The wide open, untouched by man, spaces are everywhere. Alaska is like a fine wine your eyes drink in, the sights are unlike anything else I have ever seen.

I was on the deck, sitting in a chair and staring out at the spectacular landscape, a fellow cruiser asked me if it “seemed like everything in Alaska was on steroids”. I laughed and said yes. The rain in Alaska is measured by the foot and not inches and the forests are huge and astounding.

There were so many firsts on our trip.

It was the first time in my life I could have fished with my bare hands. The salmon swimming upstream were in thick groups, I could have just reached down and picked one up. When a piece of the Glacier breaks off, it sounds like thunder and lightning. The sky was crystal clear, but when a piece broke off, I looked up to see if it was going to storm. The air is fresh and crisp, and the landscape is really something everyone should see at least once in their life. The seafood is mouth watering good. When you stop at Juneau, plan to visit Tracy’s King Crab Shack for a taste of their crab legs (and my husband would add that you really must try the Baked Alaska).

I love cruises to Alaska and I’m always recommending them to my family and friends. Cruising a great way to see lots of different places in Alaska. Unpack once, but wake up in a new place every day! Alaskan cruises are a great way to escape the heat of the summer in the South too. And because Alaska is such an iconic, must-do trip, a cruise to Alaska is perfect for groups of friends or family reunions. Alaskan Cruisers make memories with their families to last a lifetime.

As experienced cruisers and planners for multiple Alaskan group trips, Embrace Travel is ready to help you check Alaskan Cruise off your bucket list!

Ready to set sail? Begin your adventure!