Archive for March 2012

Deal of the Day! Holland America!   Leave a comment

I’m going to try to be proactive about looking for these things and posting daily.

HAL is running a one-week special!

Alaska cruises starting at $599 (with cruise tours a mere $799)

Bermuda from $599

Europe from $599

Too bad all of my vacation is booked through next year!


Posted March 27, 2012 by cubechick in Deal of the Day!

Disney’s Swan Hotel…cool but expensive   2 comments

When we were first told that we’d be going to this hotel for an annual meeting, several of us looked at the option of extending our stay. The $300 a night price tag dissuaded most of us (plus a mandatory resort fee that wasn’t disclosed until check-in). That said, the hotel is in an awesome location. Two minutes (walking) to the Disney Boardwalk and 10 from Epcot, the location is ideal.

Booking our meeting here meant a very slight (10%)discount if we bought a two-day pass to the parks. Otherwise there was no savings. I LOVED the Animal Kingdom. Where else can you see baby elephants and cheetahs (not together!) on a safari in the US?

Epcot was great. Loved the international area. We had dinner there as well. You can reserve the rotunda at American Adventure. The buffet served was excellent (Mickey and Minnie even stopped by). But even better was dessert which was served waterfront, across from “France” that meant we had a front row seat for the nightly fireworks show. Cool!

It was a good time, but I’m looking more forward to our next trip to Florida (eight weeks from today)! That trip will take us to Key West and the Bahamas, and won’t involve work. ūüôā

Posted March 25, 2012 by cubechick in Land Based Vacation Planning

And we’re off!   Leave a comment

The trip to Disney officially begins. Our flight is at the crack of dawn tomorrow, so we opted for the airport hotel tonight.

We stayed at this hotel last month and discovered the restaurant wasn’t really our cuppa. Very 50’s diner with a soda counter for a bar.

DH found a real restaurant across the street from the hotel for this visit. Eden Restaurant and lounge reminds me of a restaurant from Kitchen Nightmares. ¬†It’s run incompetently and stupidly, but has potential. They were running out of most alcohols and had a cook acting as bartender. ¬†Two of the worst drinks ever (at least mine was), but really good food. The short-rib grilled cheese was excellent!

Now it’s hurry up and wait for the flight tomorrow.

Posted March 21, 2012 by cubechick in Land Based Vacation Planning

NOT an example of budget planning!   Leave a comment

When DH and I first decided to go to Key West on vacation, we tossed around the idea of flying into Miami a day early, renting a car and stopping at Key Largo along the way. For some reason we decided not to do so.

Well, as we’ve researched the four hour drive from Miami to Key Largo, we of course began to wish we had more time! ¬†There is so much to stop and see along the way! ¬†That four hour drive could easily be a six or eight hour drive.

So today, we sucked it up and paid the fee with American Airlines¬†to move our flight to the day before. ¬†At least the flight we moved to was cheaper than the original, so we paid around $200 for the change. Now of course, I had to find a hotel on Key West. Marriott gave me a great rate of $152 and we saved $30 on the hotel the night before the flight. ¬† All-in-all we’re out an extra $320 for changing our minds.

Could be much worse! ¬† Now we’ll arrive in Key West a good four hours earlier than we expected, and get to visit Key Largo to boot. ¬†Next time, we’ll listen to our instincts!

Posted March 17, 2012 by cubechick in Land Based Vacation Planning

Packing for the Mouse   Leave a comment

Do you know what the biggest pain about business travel is? Too many clothes! ¬† ¬†I try to pack light as a rule, but this trip will prove the exception. ¬† Need clothes to visit the Mouse. ¬†Need clothes for dinner. Need clothes for meetings. Too many clothes! ¬†I’m actually going to have to check bags for a lousy three day trip.

Thank God I’m flying Southwest!

Posted March 16, 2012 by cubechick in Random Travel Thoughts

A Date with The Mouse   Leave a comment

So. ¬†I’ve never had any desire to go to Disney. ¬†I’m not into amusement park rides, don’t have kids, am not a “big kid”, so why am I going to Disney? ¬†Work is sending me!

The powers that be decided to hold a big, company-wide meeting in Orlando.  Land of Mickey.

So I had to do the unthinkable…start researching Disney! ¬†First stop was checking out the hotel that would be our home for three days and the site of the meeting. ¬†The Swan is minutes from everything really and appears to be a destination unto itself, complete with a fake (excuse me, “man made”) beach. ¬†There are complimentary shuttles that take you to all of the Disney parks, so we decided to skip Sea World ¬†(that’s a place I’d really like to see) and the cab or car rental, and stay “local”.

Then it was the airfare. ¬†Work was picking up my ticket, but we wanted to be reasonable as DH’s ticket would be out of our pocket. ¬†I watched the flights on Southwest for a few days, and pounced one Sunday when they dipped to $350 pp round trip. ¬†Thank goodness I did! ¬†The very next day their “Wanna Get Away” fare was sold out and the same flight would have been $800! ¬†Crazy. ¬†Lesson learned there. ¬†If you see a price you like, do not hesitate! ¬†(Especially with Southwest since they don’t charge change fees!)

Then it was time to decide what to do at the resorts. ¬†We had a lot of discussion back an forth before we decided on a two-day park pass. ¬†A small “perk” of booking a corporate function at the Swan was a 10% discount on the park passes (if you bought a multi-day pass). ¬†A “mere” $300 later and we were hooked up. ¬†A nice thing about the multiple day passes is that you don’t have to go on consecutive days. ¬†Convenient as my visit will be interrupted by meetings (DH will suffer through somehow at the beach, working on his tan, reading a book…poor baby). ¬† So the plan is to go to the Animal Kingdom the day we arrive and then do Epcot on our other free day before flying home.

Figuring out transportation from the airport was giving me fits. ¬†The company was going to provide passes for the shuttle from the Orlando Airport to the hotel, but that just fell through. ¬†I did a lot of research between cabbing it (which is what we were told to do) and renting a car. ¬†The price would be about the same, and the rental car would give you freedom to go elsewhere if you wanted, but I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of picking it up and dropping it off. ¬†So cab it will be (for around $60 for the two of us).

Just have to pack this weekend and we’ll be ready to go. ¬†Should be interesting. ¬†I’ll report back. ¬†Maybe even while I’m there since I have to bring my laptop!


Posted March 15, 2012 by cubechick in Random Travel Thoughts

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