Back to Back Disney Cruising

I have had several people ask me how this Back to Back Disney cruising works. It’s a neat concept and has it’s perks and downfalls.

back to back Disney cruising

First, let me explain. We went on two separate Disney cruises: a 4 night Bahamian sailing and a 3 night Bahamian sailing, back to back. Why do this instead of just a straight seven night cruise? For us, adding the 3 night was a last minute decision as we had already booked the 4 night with friends. Another perk for us was two stops at Disney’s private island: Castaway Cay. We love it there, and each sailing made a stop so we got two full days in our favorite place.

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Also, once you sail on a Disney cruise you become a member of what is called the Castaway Club. If you have completed 1-5 cruises you are a silver member, 6-10 is gold, and then platinum. Each level has different perks like gifts in your room, different booking windows for bookings excursions, and platinum cruisers even get a free meal at the adults only restaurant Palo, as well as the ability to board the ship with boarding group one. So, for us, doing two cruises instead of one “counted” twice and I am now platinum.

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It’s also fun to get on the boat before everyone else and get to your room first on the second cruise.

Let me explain how it worked. The last night of our first cruise (the four night cruise) we had a letter in our room explaining the process. If you are staying in the same room, you can leave you luggage etc. in your room, and debark the ship by 9:15. If you are changing rooms (like us) just pack up, leave everything in the room, and the stateroom host will bring your bags to your new room for you. perfect!

The next morning we ate breakfast and were in no hurry to get off the ship. We actually stayed on closer to 10:00 because people were still getting off. We relaxed in the adults only coffee shop checking emails and doing work while we had a day in port (another perk to a back to back, ability to get on the internet halfway through your trip).

We got off, breezed through customs, then turned and went right back up the escalators to check in. The port wasn’t even open yet, so it was empty. We checked in and were given a special green ticket, and were told to go sit in the concierge/closed off area in the back of the terminal.

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We sat there just hanging out until 10:45, when a cast member led us through a side door to get back onto the ship. (to the right of the Mickey ears is the closed-off area we sat in while waiting to board).

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It was weird being on the ship early (boarding usually starts around 11:45ish) because people were still cleaning and scurrying about getting things ready. The next perk was a big one, getting to our rooms early. The letter that was left on our bed started that our stateroom would be a top priority to get cleaned, and it would be ready by 11:30. FYI, for everyone else that gets on board, you can’t access your room until 1:30. We were able to get into ours just before 11:00, and our luggage was already in there, it was awesome.

We unpacked, called our families, and hung out in the room until the lunch buffet opened at 11:45, and we were among the first to eat, and we simply went back to our room after, changed, and went to the pool. Normally we have to lug our day bags around, change in the public bathroom, etc. So this was a very nice perk.

Another fun thing was Disney kept us with our same dining room team, so it was nice to have familiar faces at dinner, it made it seem like a 7 night cruise.

We enjoyed experiencing the back to back, but I don’t know if we will make it a habit of sailing on them. One downfall is they only go to Nassau and Castaway Cay, so if you are looking to go to other ports this may not be for you. However, we use Nassau day to stay on a near empty ship anyway, so we didn’t mind. You lose a few hours on the day you get off and back on, having to get off then wait to get back on etc., but other than that we enjoyed ourselves!

If you have any questions about the process please let me know! I would love to help you book your next Disney cruise at no additional cost! Email heather@travelwiththemagic.com for info.

Perks of back to back disney cruising

Related: Everything you need to know about Disney’s Castaway Cay 5k

QOTD: Would you ever consider a back to back cruise?

New Frozen II Trailer

Emma Kate was jjuussttt a tad too young to understand the excitement when the first installment of the Frozen frenzy came at us on the big screen. Don’t worry, she made up for it a little later with endless DVD viewings, performances of “Let it Go” in her Anna or Elsa dress on “stage” at our house, and Olaf snuggles while reading Frozen books before bed. To say she was bitten by the bug was an understatement.

Now that she is almost five, she is right in the thick of understanding that an ALL NEW Frozen movie is coming out, and she (ok, and me too) cannot wait. I was so pumped to see the new trailer debut and figure out a little bit more of the storyline. It’s safe to say we will be storming the theaters in November dressed in our best costumes ready to learn new songs, see familiar faces, and follow along with our two favorite Disney royals on an amazing new adventure. Check out the trailer for yourself here:

OOMMGGGG! What are your thoughts? I can’t wait to hear the funny new things Olaf will say, watch Sven well, just be himself, and so much more.

Be sure to follow along on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Disney’s Copper Creek 2 Bedroom Villa

This spring we had the opportunity to do a split stay at Walt Disney World. We stayed two night at the Grand Floridian villas and then three nights at a Copper Creek 2 bedroom villa.

Copper creek 2 bedroom villa

There is a big contrast in the two, but not necessarily a bad thing. The Grand Floridian villas were bright and white, and the Wilderness Lodge villas were a more closed floor plan with dark browns and wood. We still enjoyed the resort and the villa, just prefer the brighter rooms and felt the layout was a little weird at Copper Creek. We did love the bathrooms though, and our nice big balcony and view. Read on!

We were on the 6th floor of the main building, so we were not in Boulder Ridge, which is the “DVC building” at the Wilderness Lodge resort.

We lucked out are were near the elevators with a great view of one of the pools and the lake. Very peaceful! It was also super close to the bus stop which got a little loud when you were on the balcony and the buses drove up, but it was still a great view.

The balcony spanned all the way from the master, living room, and past the second bedroom just like at the Grand Floridian.

When you walked into the villa, you were immediately in the kitchen, which was super narrow. This was my layout qualm. If someone opened the fridge, no one could pass by, it was just an awkward layout for the living area, but we did however like the bedrooms. So you walk in and the kitchen is straight ahead, the master was to the left and then straight back to the right past the kitchen and living room was our bedroom.

Looking back to the balcony from the front door

The living room/dining combo was together with the TV and the balcony was right past them.

Our bedroom had two queen beds and a nice large bathroom with dual sinks and a big closet.

I loved how spacious it was, but just wish the toilet and shower were in a separate area.

The master bedroom had a desk area, an awesome headboard and plenty of storage space.

It also had a large bathroom with dual sinks, and a very cool tub.

We also spent plenty of time enjoying the resort. Emma Kate loved the waterslide and the kids play area.

I would definitely stay here again, more for the resort itself, pools, restaurants and peaceful feel than for the rooms themselves, but we did very much enjoy ourselves!

Click here for a video tour of our Copper Creek 2 bedroom villa.

Email me at heather@travelwiththemagic.com and I can help you with your next Disney vacation!

Disney’s Grand Floridian 2 Bedroom Villa

When my family vacationed in Walt Disney World in April, We did a split stay between two resorts. The first resort we stayed in for two nights was Disney’s Grand Floridian 2 bedroom villa. (PS be sure to check out the link to the video tour at the bottom of this post.)

Over the years we have stayed at the Grand many times, but this was our first experience with the villas.

Having all the extra space is so nice especially when traveling with a small child! My parents took the master, and the three of us had a second bedroom with two queens. However, more people could have fit as the living room sofa is also a bed and there was a trundle under the TV.

When you book a villa, you can choose a standard view which looks out over the back/parking lot, or a Bay Lake view. We lucked out and were upgraded to a Bay Lake view on this trip! We had beautiful sunrises, and spent a good amount of time on the balcony which was super long!

Here is a panoramic shot of our view. We could see from Space mountain all the way to the Poly and Spaceship Earth in the distance.

When you walk into the villa building, there were desks there with cast members available at certain hours to check you in, answer questions, and more. There were also bell hops. The lobby is Mary Poppins themed, and there was a Nespresso maker for our use as well which was a nice touch (although it was broken one of the two days we were there.)

Looking down into the lobby from our floor:

Other amenities of the villas aside from access to the pools and other Grand Floridian amenities/restaurants/etc. were grills outside near the parking lot, as well as a basketball court. We were right by the spa and gym, and a quick walk along the path to the Polynesian. We loved the central location.

Ok, moving on to the room. When you walk into the villa, there was an entryway. To the left was a hallway with a desk leading to our room and bathroom, to the right was a hallway going to the master (which you could also access off the living room) and in that hallway was the washer and dryer. Straight ahead was the kitchen and dining combo, then past that the living room and balcony. In the below photo you can see the “front door” to the back which is halfway open.

The kitchen had a large refrigerator, stove, microwave, sick, coffee pot, and dishwasher. We bring our own breakfast foods as well as bottled water, alcohol, and snacks and we save a ton of money this way! My mom even cooked Jambalaya at the house and brought it for us to eat the first night and not only was it delicious but let’s face it, WAY cheaper than any Disney restaurant!

Pro tip: if you are flying in from out of town you can have a grocery service deliver groceries to your villa!

As mentioned before, the master had two entrances, one off the front hall and one off the living room to the back right as shown in the photo above, just past the TV. Both bedrooms also had their own balcony access.

The master bedroom and closet were HUGE with plenty of room for luggage etc. Also, we had lots of room in the front hallway of our villa to put our stroller at night or when we weren’t using it.

The master bathroom was gigantic and had two sinks, a large soaking tub, and big shower. The mirrors also have TV’s in them!

On the other side of the villa was a built in hallway desk, and then the second bedroom with closet and bathroom. I love the way they set up the villa so that you can close off your bedroom door but whoever is sleeping in the living room still has access to the bathroom at night without having to go through or into a bedroom and potentially waking people up. In the below photo you can see the desk at the end of the hall. Turn left and after a few steps is the front door of the villa. In the below hallway, to the left was our closet, to the right was our bathroom, with separate doors for the shower and sink, then the toilet and a shower tub combo were in the next room.

Our mirror had a TV in it as well which we basically left on playing Disney music whenever we were getting ready and dressed to go somewhere.

We had our own door to the balcony as well.

We loved the layout and flow of the 2 bedroom villa, and would love to be able to stay here again! I was skeptical because the “regular” part of the Grand is kind of my “first love”, but we really enjoyed the space, decor, and everything else about the villa!

Be sure to check out a video room tour of our villa HERE.

I would love to help you plan your next trip to Disney World, free of charge! Email Heather@Travelwiththemagic.com for a quote.

Disney 2019 Vacation Recap: Part 6

In case you missed part 5, go back and read it here.

We woke up on Thursday morning and my dad had left at about 5:00 that morning to drive back to Tampa for work. We loaded up the cars and then met a friend of mine for breakfast. This was the only day I broke my fast early for a delicious breakfast. The weather was amazing so we sat outside of the quick service restaurant at the hotel. I had bananas foster french toast and an iced smores latte. Amazing!

After saying our goodbyes to my friend, we hit up the pool for one more swim before hitting the road to my parent’s house in Tampa. We had some guests in the pool. Mama and baby ducks!

The weather was so perfect, we stayed until about 11:30 and soaked up the last few moments of vacation.

We said sad goodbyes to Disney, and got to my parent’s in the early afternoon. We just hung out and then my dad grilled burgers that night. The next day, we took Emma Kate to the pool (like we hadn’t had enough pool time!)

Bobby and I also hit up the gym which felt great after all the food we ate in Disney.

EK and my mom made bunny cupcakes, and we grilled again for dinner.

I think my mom also took Emma Kate to the library somewhere in that day. Our plan for Saturday was to stay until lunch, then get on the road and drive halfway again, then the second half Sunday morning. But, we knew we had to wear Emma Kate out before getting in the car, so Saturday morning they took her to Bob Evan’s (tradition) and we went to the pool again.

I was so proud of my plan, because homegirl was passed out before we even got to the interstate.

The drive was pretty uneventful for 6 hours, and we enjoyed a dinner at Cracker Barrel and an early bedtime before getting up and driving back home Sunday morning.

That’s it my friends! Our wild and crazy week in Florida has come to an end. We had an amazing time and I loved staying in new places and trying new things. I’m ready to plan my next trip so I can go back.

Don’t forget, I can help you plan your next trip! Email heather@travelwiththemagic.com for a free quote!

Disney 2019 Vacation Recap: Part 5

If you missed part 4, you can check it out here first!

We left off last time with our day at Hollywood Studios and a fun evening at Splitsville. The next day was our last full day (HOW does it go by so fast?!?) and we headed to EPCOT that morning. We actually arrived before it opened and had to wait for a bit to get in, but we headed straight for Anna and Elsa and only waited about ten minutes!

Look at the concentration in her face below haha!

After the meet and greet, we roda Frozen Ever After. I needed coffee, so Bobby took EK to the play area and we all met up after getting coffee.

It was so nice to sit in the shade while she played. I love the Flower and Garden festival!

We were getting pretty hungry, and decided to see if we could walk up at Via Napoli. We stopped and looked at pretty topiaries along the way.

Trying to entertain a four year old while you wait for a table is fun.

The restaurant was able to take us, and we split a huge pizza which was delicious.

We headed back towards Future World after this, but stopped for some photos.

We then rode Soarin, and then decided to head back to the hotel to hit the pool.

This is blurry because it’s a screen grab from a video, but yes I went down the slide!

Mom and dad had dinner reservations at Citrico’s, so we decided to take Emma Kate back to Epcot. Why not? It was our last night.

We walked around World Showcase and Bobby got some snacks from some of the booths. We got to America and grabbed food. Just as we sat down outside to eat, John Michael Montgomery took the stage! So we got to listen to his concert while we ate. How fun!

We decided to go ride Soarin’ again, and then did the Nemo ride.

We were pretty wiped from all the walking and decided to head back to the hotel. I was glad we went back to EPCOT one last time though!

I would love to help you book your next Disney adventure! It costs you nothing extra for my help. Email heather@travelwiththemagic.com for details.

Disney 2019 Vacation Recap: Part 4

If you missed parts 1-3 go here for the link!

After a long and fun day at Magic Kingdom, we slept well and were ready to hit up Hollywood Studios in the morning. Our plan was to go straight to Toy Story Land (just like everyone else.)

We had fastpasses for Alien Swirling Saucers, which is Emma Kate’s FAVORITE ride. So our hope was to do standby while it was short and then use the Fastpasses.

We basically walked onto the ride in standby, then rode it again with our fastpasses. I wasn’t kidding about how much she loves it. Look at that face!

We also had to show off our Toy Story Land magic bands from a media event last year before taking some wall photos.

While we were taking photos, the green army men arrived. They do an adorable show over by the bathrooms, so I highly recommend checking it out if you see them. Emma Kate got to be in it and was so proud!

Next we took some photos with Goofy, and Bobby had to go check out this from Galaxy’s Edge of course.

Next, my dad and Bobby used fastpasses for Star Tours while mom, EK and I went and said hey to Olaf.

We were pretty hungry after that, so we waited a few minutes until Backlot Express opened and grabbed some lunch. We were pretty tired but wanted to do one more thing, so we took Emma Kate to the Indiana Jones show for the first time. Little did we know Bobby would end up being IN the show!

He did great, and I actually have some really funny videos I need to upload. Emma Kate wasn’t a fan of the noise, but it was a fun experience for all!

We decided to go back to the hotel, take a rest, and then hit up the pool before dinner at Disney Springs.

Emma Kate was SO tired I was sure she was going to nap….NOPE! I worked while everyone else napped and she just laid in the bed NOT SLEEPING. This kid is the Energizer bunny. We got changed and went to the pool which was pretty quiet because it had just rained.

We went back up to the room to show and change again. We had a media visit lined up at Splitsville for the early evening. Last summer we got to eat and Bowl at Splitsville during the sports festival event I attended, but Emma Kate didn’t remember doing it, and my parents hadn’t been in about 5 years, so it was such a nice treat for them to invite us to come eat and bowl.

We had AMAZING food and drinks. This is not just your regular bowling alley food. Bobby said the sushi was phenomenal, and I loved all the yummy drinks and we even had a huge dessert to share.

Keep in mind while it is super fun to eat and bowl at the same time, you don’t have to bowl, you can just go there to eat!

They have bumpers for the kids and even a fun little device to help them “bowl.”

Emma Kate had an absolute blast bowling and kept trying to steal out turns.

We tried to get a family selfie at the end but it didn’t come out very well.

This was definitely one of the top highlights of the trip, and I can’t wait to go back. Thanks so much for having us Splitsville!

Our plan was to walk around after dinner, but the sky was VERY dark so we decided to go back to the parking garage, and as soon as we did, the heavens let loose and it POURED on everyone at Disney Springs, so I’m glad we opted to go back to the hotel!

We still have one more full day to go, Epcot! Check back later for more.

I would love to help you plan your next Disney adventure, email me at heather@travelwiththemagic.com

Disney 2019 Vacation Recap: Part 3

If you missed part one and part two be sure to check them out then come back to this one!

We left off part two at the end of our fun day at the pool. We woke up the third day ready to go to our first park, Magic Kingdom! I knew this would be my favorite day so I was super excited. We would be checking out of our villa that day and heading over to Wilderness Lodge/Copper Creek villas that afternoon, so we went ahead and packed up our cars that morning and left them in the Grand Floridian parking lot and then hopped on the monorail to Magic Kingdom.

The weather was beautiful again, and we were able to get there for rope drop despite some monorail issues.

I hit up Starbucks with my mom while Ek, Bobby and my dad went to the rope drop and Carousel.

We were then able to knock out some rides like Dumbo, and then we saw Daisy and Pluto!

Emma Kate has been asking about cotton candy for WEEKS for some reason, so we told her she could get some at Disney World, so of course she immediately spotted it at the park so we let her get some at 9:00 in the morning.

We then had a fastpass for Enchanted Tales with Belle, and Emma kate got to be Mrs. Potts. She is such a ham. I can’t remember exactly what was next, but I know we rode, Peter Pan, The PeopleMover, Buzz lightyear, Ariel, and then we saw Princesses while Bobby and my dad rode Splash Mountain.

Oh and we also rode Winnie the Pooh.

After a quick service lunch of Mexican food, we headed to Tomorrowland for delicious chocolate milkshake desserts. Emma Kate waited so patiently at the counter for hers.

Mom and dad were worn out after that, so they took off to go back to the Grand and pick up their car then check in at the next hotel while me, Ek and Bobby rode Pirates of the Caribbean. I can’t remember what else we did, but it was getting really people-y in the park so we decided to head out as well. We ended up taking a boat (apparently the monorail was taking forever per mom and dad) and we ended up only being a few minutes behind them.

Our two bedroom villa was on the 6th floor with a pool and water view. We got all the luggage up there and took a little rest before dinner. I will do a full review of this resort in another post!

We had dinner at Trail’s End buffet to celebrate my dad’s birthday, so we took the boat over.

We had a great dinner and dad was thoroughly embarrassed for his birthday, and we got back on the boat with full bellies. Unfortunately a huge storm came up while on the boat, and we were all dumped off at the Contemporary because they closed the boats down. We ended up just taking a cab to Wilderness Lodge since it was so close and much more convenient then trying to take the monorail to the Magic Kingdom then a bus. Emma Kate was dying to go swimming, but with lightning in the area the pools were closed.

We were finally given the all clear, and Emma Kate had a late night swim/play time in the splash pad.

We had an awesome day and were worn out by the end of it. Up next we have Hollywood Studios!

Disney 2019 Vacation Recap: Part 2

In case you missed part 1, you can go back and read it here.

We left off at the end of our arrival day. When we planned this trip, we decided to do 3 days of parks. Since we had 4 full days, that meant one day would be a day at the resort. Since the parks are typically less crowded during the week (and it was a runDisney weekend to boot), we decided Sunday would be our “chill day.”

We got up and the family ate pancakes (I was fasting still!) And Bobby went to get us chairs at the pool. Mom cleaned up and Dad, Emma Kate and I ran over to Sugar Loaf to say hello to a cast member friend of mine. We had a nice chat and headed back to the pool with mimosas.

We had front row chairs, which was great for taking turns in the pool with Emma Kate and keeping an eye on her when she went down the slide. She was having a blast.

Let me tell you, this girl can play HARD.

We got to the pool a little after 9:00, and girlfriend didn’t stop until we MADE her get out at 1:30. When it was lunch time, my mom and I walked to the Polynesian (the weather was amazing yall) and we picked up lunch and brought it back and ate at our chairs.

The walk was really nice and the food was delicious as always.

My mom and dad took Emma Kate up to the room and Bobby and I stayed about 30 minutes longer until I had had enough (it was warming up and my spot wasn’t covered by the umbrella anymore and I could feel myself frying.) So everyone took naps (the only time the whole trip EK napped, unfortunately.)

After nap, we hung out on the balcony enjoying the weather and some snacks.

Bobby and I had reservations for Narcoossess that evening, so Emma Kate and I put on some mommy and me dresses for a little photo shoot before dinner.

It was really nice having dinner at our resort and just walking over! As we walked a cast member saw us and gave us a ride on his golf cart.

I always try to be honest with yall, and I must admit we were super disappointed with our dinner. We used to LOVE Narcoossess, but prices have gone way up, and they must have gotten a new chef because the fillet I know and love tasted WAY different and had different sauces etc. It was COVERED in pepper and it was overpowering and just tasted like I was eating forkfuls of it. It was also overcooked which was a bummer. Normally they butterfly it for me and didn’t this time, maybe that’s why it was overcooked?

My drink was delicious (chocolate martini), and dessert was good. But for the price, the portions are small (Bobby was hungry after) and we won’t be back for a while. We love Citrico’s too, so we will probbaly go there next time or California Grill.

After dinner we walked around a bit and went and sat by the marina.

We went back to the room and changed, and all headed downstairs for the movie under the stars. This was our first time participating, and thought it was a nice touch that they gave out popcorn.

We left halfway through the movie (we have Monsters Inc. and Emma Kate was getting bored) to go watch the fireworks from the marina. It was pretty crowded and we didn’t stay the whole time (my child has the attention span of a flea.)

As we walked back to the villas, we realized the place where you roast marshmallows had an amazing view of the fireworks! This is our plan next time!

It was a great day just relaxing and not having to rush off to a park. I highly recommend doing a day like this if you can!

However the crazy was just about to start for us, as the next day we were headed to Magic Kingdom! Stay tuned for more.

Would you like a free no obligation Disney vacation quote? Email heather@travelwiththemagic.com

Disney 2019 Vacation Recap: Part 1

We are back from a wonderful Disney vacation, and I can’t wait to share all the fun we had in Florida. I’m going to break this up into parts, but try and get them all up quickly before I forget what all we did! I will link all the parts here once I am done.

Friday April 5th we left after lunch to drive halfway to Disney. We stopped north of Destin just off the interstate and were all too excited to sleep!

We got on the road the next morning for the 6 hour drive to Orlando. We arrived right at 4:00 at the Grand Floridian villas, and my parents were already there and had checked into the room. We were on the top floor and had an amazing view of Bay Lake! I will post a few photos here but plan to do a whole other post just about the villas.

The two bedroom villas are gorgeous, and I loved how light and airy they were. We spent a good amount of time on the balcony just enjoying the view. I posted room tours on my IGTV channel (@HeathersLG) if you want to check them out!

As soon as we got unloaded into the villa, we changed and headed to the pool. Emma Kate was so excited, so we went straight to the splash pad.

She loved the giant bucket of water that dumped out every couple of minutes and would just sit in the water waiting for it.

After a couple hours, we went to leave and saw they were roasting marshmallows, so obviously we had to do that!

My mom had made jambalaya at home the night before so we had that up in the villa. It was nice to not have to go anywhere or get dressed for a restaurant on arrival day. It allowed for more pool time and just relaxing and hanging out.

After we ate, we went for a walk around the hotel grounds, and into the lobby to see the beautiful Easter egg display they do every year. I can’t believe these are chocolate, they are so intricate it’s amazing.

We were all pretty wiped out after that, and decided to go to bed. We had a fun day of relaxing at the pool planned for the next day!

I would love to help you plan your next Disney vacation! It’s free for me to help you! Email heather@travelwiththemagic.com for details.