Archive for April, 2012

Meet Tripp

Thank you to everyone who voted in our contest to name our mascot.  Meet Tripp, the Travel On A Dream mascot. Tripp won with nearly 50% of the vote.  ToaD was a distant second.

Please Vote For Your Favorite

All the submissions are in!  It’s now time to vote.  We are giving a name to our mascot and we want your help.  Please select the name that you like best.  Vote here through Noon Eastern tomorrow, April 27.  Thank you for your help!

“How Much More Will This Cost Me?”

This is a very typical question for anyone planning a cruise of any kind and a question I have recently received from a client going on the ToaD Fantasy sailing on October 20, 2012 (space still available and the rates are great!).  I decided to do a blog about the typical costs to expect on a cruise but thought it would be better broken down into a couple blogs.  This one is going to be specific to our 7 night Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Disney Fantasy.  In the future, I will do a blog that is more general to all cruise lines.

Some people believe that a cruise is all-inclusive.  While a cruise is more inclusive than most vacations (excluding all-inclusives of course), there are some things that are not included.  That said, you can keep the costs down with some planning.  I have broken down the possible costs associated with a cruise.

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Additional 2013 Adventures by Disney Add-Ons Information

This morning I blogged about the European add-ons to the Disney Cruise Line Mediterranean cruises next year.  We now have some additional information about the tours.

7-Night Mediterranean Magic

During this tour, you will visit Monaco and tour the palace where Grace Kelly lived, go behind-the scenes at Grom Gelateria in Florence, take a private tour of some of Rome’s most famous landmarks like the Coliseum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Forum, Vatican City Museum and the Sistine Chapel, not only see how to press olive oil and make mozzarella cheese but you will also make pizzas with the chefs in Sorrento and cruise around the isle of Capri in the Mediterranean Sea.

12-Night Mediterranean Magic with Venice

Here you will again take the same tours in Rome and Sorrento as the 7-night Mediterranean Magic but you will also have a private gondola tour of Venice, go swimming off the coast of Malta and go kayaking along the coastline of Croatia in Dubrovnik.

12-Night Mediterranean Magic with Greece

Your tours in Rome will be the same as the other two tours.  In addition you will visit Panathinkaiko, the location where the modern Olympics were first held.  Junior Adventurers will join in a mini marathon just for fun.  You will also have lunch in the heart of Ephesus, complete with Turkish coffee while in Mykonos you will learn how to prepare some classic Greek favorites.  You will also be able to swim off the coast of Malta.

4-Night Pre-stay in Madrid

Here you will have a private tour of Palacio Real and then visit Alcazar of Segovia.  You will learn how to cook Spanish cuisine at Foxa Molino de Cantarranas and take a bike or walking tour through Parque del Retiro.  Finally you will learn about the culture and people through activities including tapas “pub crawl” and a Flamenco dance performance.  Prices include airfare from Madrid to Barcelona.

4-Night Pre-stay in Barcelona – Barcelona Encantos

On this tour you will visit the 1992 Summer Olympics site for a group photo, take a privately guided tour of the Sagrada Familia Cathedral and the Gothic Quarter to learn more about Antonio Gaudi.  You will have a privately-held cooking clas and Flamenco dance performance.  You will also have a tour of the Codorniu Cellars, a winery dating back to 1551, including a tasting of their cava.

3-Night Pre-Stay in Barcelona – Barcelona Escape

On this three night stay you will have a privately guided tour of Sagrada Familia Cathedral, the Gothic Quarter and Montserrat.  Included will be an archeology experience and a mountain hike.  You will be able to meet the people and experience the culture with activities including stained glass making and a Flamenco dance performance.

Adventures by Disney Add Ons in 2013

Today, Disney Cruise Line is releasing their Adventures by Disney Add-Ons for the Mediterranean sailings in 2013.

In Europe, there will be add-ons for the 7 and 12 night sailings plus there is an option to add on a 3 or 4 night pre-cruise package in Barcelona.  Details are still being released but here is some basic information.

All tours during the cruises include a welcome reception with a historian and a farewell reception, 1 case of bottled water per stateroom, 2 photo CDs, an Adventures by Disney backpack and prearrival informational kit, prizes and gifts and lunches while you are in the various ports of call (4 for the 7 night sailings, 8 for the 12 night sailings).  Ship gratuities are NOT included this year.  We haven’t received details on the actual shore excursions that will be included with the tours, but were informed that there will be a Vatican City Museum and Sistine Chapel tour, a historic walking tour of Rome and a tour of the Palace apartment in Monte Carlo.

All tours have a minimum age of 4 years old, however, 6 years old is the recommended minimum.  Prices for these add-ons will be

  • $2299 adults, $2179 children 4-11 for the 7-night add-on
  • $3299 adults, $3129 children 4-11 for the 12-night Venice sailing add-on, and
  • $3149 adults, $2989 children 4-11 for the 12-night Greece sailing add-on

The three and four night pre-cruise package includes your transfers from the airport to the hotel and hotel to the port plus hotel.  Also included is a welcome dinner in a location overlooking the city, a unique tour and farewell tour.  The hotel with the 4 night package is the Hotel El Palace and the hotel with the 3 night package is the Gran Hotel Havana.  These are offered with select sailings.  Prices are as follows:

  • $2899 adults, $2749 children for the four night pre-cruise package and
  • $1899 adults, $1799 children for the three night pre-cruise package

Finally, there is a four night pre-cruise package on a couple dates for Madrid.  Included in the price are transfers from the airport to the hotel and back to the airport.  The hotel is the Gran Melia Phoenix.  You will have a unique tour exclusively for Adventures by Disney, including the Royal Palace and Alcazar Castle.  You will also get a photo CE, backpack and pre-departure handbook.  Please note that transportation to Barcelona IS included with this trip.  The pricing for this tour is $2899 for adults and $2749 for children age 4-11.

Pricing and availability cannot be guaranteed until you book these add-ons to your European cruise itinerary.  Restrictions may apply.

Help Us Name Our Mascot!

Over the last year or so, I have had many people ask me “what is your mascot’s name?”   We do realize he is a frog and our company is named ToaD so I have always said “He’s a frog named ToaD” and it kind of stuck.  Until now.

Maybe you all agree with me that his name should be ToaD, maybe you don’t.  In the beginning we just had our website and our blog.  Soon after we started a Facebook page and Twitter page.  More recently we have added a Pinterst page and Google+ page.  There are links to all of these on our website.  We hope you’ll join in and like or follow us on all of these sites.  So ToaD is now on many different sites so we felt it may be time to actually give him a name.

Here’s where you come in.  Like or follow us on any of these social media sites, then let us know what you think our mascot’s name should be.  We do have a few requirements.  We don’t want to use the name of any other frog or toad out there, like Kermit, so originality counts.  We also don’t want to have any issues with other trademarks or registered marks so no naming him after other mascots or characters out there.

Finally, we want his name to either be just a name or some sort of a link to what we do, yet not be limiting.  We don’t just sell Disney World, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, pretty much any Disney vacation.  We don’t just sell cruises.  We are your full service travel consultants, or rather your travel partners.  We will take suggestions through all of  these means or you can email us at At the end of next week we will put together the most popular and most appropriate suggestions for a vote. We do reserve the right to choose a different name but we will certainly take all that you have suggested into account.

Thank you for your help!

Quality versus Quantity

I was asked the other day about cruise bookings for summer 2012 and how they relate to 2011.  While checking numbers I found the trends to be interesting.  But it also got me thinking.  What is more important to people in recent years – more time off or higher quality in the time off that you have.

This is an interesting choice and it isn’t necessarily the same for everyone.  It comes down to one question – What do you want to get out of your vacation?

Some people just want the downtime, and the more, the better!  Staying in a value resort just so you can go on vacation as often as possible is worth it to them.  It may mean driving more often to a destination than flying there so save on airfare. Getting away for a long weekend in a nearby city to catch a show or concert, go to a spa or nothing at all!

For others, it is totally about the destination.  You don’t care where you stay, how you get there, what you eat, you just want to be there.  For a Disney vacation, this could mean eating offsite more frequently, getting a resort with a kitchen or kitchenette to be able to cook some meals in the room or getting annual passes for the discounts and lower cost of admission (assuming you visit enough times to make this happen).

Still others are wanting the deluxe experience, regardless of what it will cost.  However, they may need to cut back on some of the options to make this happen.  Instead of a ten day vacation, they may cut back to only five days.  They may decide that instead of a couple trips a year, they will only take one, and make it a good one!  Or take some short weekend trips instead of a second vacation.

What I noticed while studying my sales numbers is that people weren’t cancelling vacations when the economy started to fail, they were just changing how they vacationed.  This is where working with a good travel consultant can help.  The agent that you use for all your vacation plans will know what you like and dislike, know what’s important to you on vacation and how you can scale back that usual vacation so you still get your well deserved break, yet don’t break the bank.

What are you doing with your vacations?  Is the economy affecting how you vacation or not?  We’d love to hear from you!

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