Portugal… Add it to the Bucket List!

The following post is written by Ken from our Camp Hill and Colonial Park locations. Ken recently visited Portugal and shares his experience of this often undiscovered, yet treasure of Europe.

 

 

Portugal had always been near the top of my travel bucket list even though I couldn’t exactly tell you why. After visiting Portugal this fall, I can now give dozens of reasons why this small country is worth a detour. No one visits Portugal by accident. Almost as big as Pennsylvania, it is located in far southwestern Europe with nothing beyond it but the big Atlantic.  You don’t see Portugal just passing through on a grand European adventure. This is actually good news because Portugal is worth a vacation all to itself! Sure you can throw in its neighbor Spain (which I LOVE), but Portugal can definitely stand alone.

Ken and his wife Bonnie

First of all, let me mention the wonderful Portuguese people. They love their country and are eager to share it with the world, which they are doing more and more as tourism to Portugal is growing rapidly. Except for the oldest generation, the knowledge of English is outstanding. Portuguese – very different from Spanish – is not a very widely spoken language so every student gets 12 years of English in school. Their younger people know all about American pop culture, music and movies. The older folk, often seen in traditional clothing, wore Portugal’s tough history in their tanned wrinkles but also in smiles that seemed to say, “At last, times are good.”

We visited 10 locations: Lisbon, Evora, Sintra, Palmela, Sesimbra, Obidos, Nazare, Aveiro, Porto and the Douro River Valley. Lisbon (“leash-bo-ah”) may have the grandest locations of any European capital city. It is often compared to San Francisco with its large bay, steep streets, trolley cars, beautiful overlooks and even its own “Golden Gate” bridge look-a-like (which is almost twice as long!). Lisbon also has the history of a devastating earthquake which destroyed almost the entire city in 1755. One area unscathed by the earthquake is the soul of Lisbon: Alfama. Today this is where you go to enjoy the local Fado music or stroll the narrow, winding streets looking for Portuguese or ethnic foods. On the waterfront, you will be find Belem.  This is where Portugal’s explorers left for new worlds. Go to Belem to be impressed by the Monument to the Discoveries, the Belem Tower and the Jeronimos Monastery. Lisbon is definitely worth 3-4 days. In addition, nearby cities are Sintra, Sesimbra, Evora and Obidos which are excellent day trips from Lisbon but equally worthy of an overnight stay.

Portuguese Food
Lisbon
Evora
Portugal’s own “Golden Gate Bridge”
Pamela

Sintra is a fairy tale town in a gorgeous natural setting among tall trees. Once home for the king, Pena Palace was built more for romanticism than for protection. This quirky, mountaintop summer palace has many styles and Crayola colors. On the neighboring mountaintop you can see and visit the imposing Moorish Castle from 711 AD. In the valley below, wealthy commoners built vacation homes to be near the king. One of these, Quinta da Regaleira, comes complete with enchanting gardens, towers, hidden waterfalls and many subterranean passageways.

Pena Palace

Just north of Lisbon you will find Obidos, a quaint medieval village with shops and restaurants serving local dishes like bacalao and caldo verde. ​Just to the west in a wine region, Evora has much to see. There are many well-preserved Roman ruins, a chapel lined with hundreds of human bones, and a Nativity Museum filled with scenes made around the world.

Portugal is also well known for its beautiful seaside towns and fishing villages–these come complete with beautiful sandy beaches, crystal blue water and fantastic seafood restaurants. At the bottom of Portugal, the entire Algarve region is worth an extended stay, but for those with less time Sesimbra, Cascais or Nazare will not disappoint a beach lover.

Lastly, it would be a shame to miss Porto, Portugal’s “second city”. Porto is not second rate by any means. The city is smaller than Lisbon but with tons of walkable charm. Porto’s emblem is the two level Luis I Bridge and it’s amazing day and night. Harry Potter fans will love the city’s influence on JK Rowling. Wine enthusiasts will love the city’s namesake port wine. If you think you don’t like port wine, wait until Porto! There are so many varieties. Then, go to the source of the port wine, the Douro River Wine Valley.  The scenery alone is fantastic, but wait until you visit one of the many quintas or vineyards! The Douro Valley is just incredible.

Bones Chapel

Porto City
Town of Porto
This Cafe in Porto inspired JK Rowling’s Harry Potter
Duoro River
Duoro River
Duoro River
So now you know how much I loved this little country and its beautiful scenery, delicious food and delightful people.  I really look forward to booking my clients to Portugal.   It will be my pleasure to share this find. ​

Visit Boscov’s Travel located within select Boscov’s including Pennsylvania (Camp Hill, Colonial Park/Harrisburg, Easton, Lancaster, Lebanon, Neshaminy/Bensalem, Wyomissing, Reading, Pottstown, Pottsville, Scranton, Selinsgrove, Wilkes-Barre), New York (Binghamton), New Jersey (Atlantic City and Moorestown), Delaware (Wilmington), and Maryland (Salisbury). View our locations here. If you live a little further away, book over the phone by calling us at 800-755-8020. Learn more at boscovstravel.com

Top Halloween Destinations: Hocus Pocus and Halloweentown

The following post is written by Amanda from the Boscov’s Travel Marketing Department.

Top Halloween Destinations

Fall really has become one of my favorite seasons. The beautiful fall colors, the leaves starting to fall, pumpkins and everything in between. Well what if we could visit a town that made you feel like you experienced fall and Halloween all year around!? Its not that far fetch guys with these two destinations…

Here are the two places everyone who is a Halloween freak must visit!

Halloween town is a real town of St. Helen Oregon

Calling all 90’s kids! Does this pumpkin look familiar? Yes, this is not a joke, there is a real-life Halloweentown! The 1998 film with  three sequels has come to life. This movie was filmed in St. Helens, Oregon and every year for the holiday, they recreate the formally fictional town! Starting October 1, visitors can enjoy everything from haunted house tours and pumpkin carving contests to spooky tractor rides and costume parties. Just a short 40 minute drive from Portland, Oregon, this would be a perfect day trip! How festive is this town!? Anyone going? Take me with you.

Up Next….

Salem located just 30 minutes north of Boston, Massachusetts
Alison’s House from Hocus Pocus located right in the town of Salem.

Halloween is a long season in one of the most infamous towns in America. I was lucky enough to visit during Halloween(ish). My family visited on Nov. 1 and it was perfect. There were still people but not crowded at all! Our tour guide mentioned the town had more than 100,000 visitors in October.

Ropes Mansion
Witch House at Salem

Locals say the day after Halloween the town then becomes a ghost town. Luckily for us the town still felt like Halloween which was perfect! We spent two full days in the quaint, small town. We did everything there was to offer in two full days. In just our short weekend trip, we took the night ghost tour, visited the Salem witch museum, toured the house of Seven Gables, visited the witch house of Salem, braved our way through the witch dungeon museum (which I recommend to everyone) and we walked the town. A part of our tours also took us to some of the location Hocus Pocus filming locations! We saw Alison’s house and Old Town Hall, as well as Max and Dan’s house.

This trip was definitive a memorable one and two days was the perfect amount of time to visit the town.

Are you ready to hit the towns and fall into all these  holiday festivities with these fun getaways? Call us to help you plan out your vacation!

Visit Boscov’s Travel located within select Boscov’s including Pennsylvania (Camp Hill, Colonial Park/Harrisburg, Easton, Lancaster, Lebanon, Neshaminy/Bensalem, Wyomissing, Reading, Pottstown, Pottsville, Scranton, Selinsgrove, Wilkes-Barre), New York (Binghamton), New Jersey (Atlantic City and Moorestown), Delaware (Wilmington), and Maryland (Salisbury). View our locations here. If you live a little further away, book over the phone by calling us at 800-755-8020. Learn more at boscovstravel.com

 

The World’s First Discovery Yacht Gives You Luxurious Amenities Unlike Ever Before

The following post is a review of our experience aboard Scenic’s newest venture – the Scenic Eclipse, the World’s First Discovery Yacht. Both Janet and Yana from our Reading, PA office experienced the inaugural sailing in September 2019 as the ship made her way from Halifax to NYC.  

Previously, access to a yacht vacation was reserved for the ultra wealthy. With Scenic’s introduction of the Eclipse, travelers can now discover the farthest reaches of the world while experiencing 6-star luxury aboard the World’s First Discovery Yacht. The all-inclusive* experience is unlike any other. From specialty dining to shore excursions, open bar to kayak and bike use, this vacation is incredible.

Tell us about the look of the ship.
Every feature of the ship was designed by the founder Glen Moroney’s wife, Karen. She and her team took form and function into account. Whether it was the beauty of the lobby, the inviting spa complete with infared sauna, steam-room and plunge pool, or the lovely art gracing the ship, there was always a new feature to discover around every corridor.

Our cabin was spacious and well accommodated. The bathroom featured a large shower stall with rainfall showerhead, a minimalist European style sink and a Dyson hairdryer. Inside the cabin, no expense was spared. A dual adjustable mattress, TV sleekly hidden within the mirror, and the stunning artwork made the room inviting and comfortable.

The ship’s interior is dark and sleek, while making minimal but effective use of light and reflective surfaces. The darker grey coloration is unlike any other ship and was unexpected, but truly elegant. Speaking of striking features…

What were you most surprised by when onboard the Scenic Eclipse?
If you’re an avid cruiser, you know that noise between the cabins can happen frequently. These cabins and the public areas were different. Sound is minimal and we didn’t hear anyone in the corridors or next room. What a difference this makes!

If you do cruise, you typically need to pre-register a credit card before you sail. When you get onboard, you’re on vacation and there’s no need to pre-register a card.

On our balcony, we had a full size table. Typically cruise ships give you a coffee/side sized table. Having the larger table allowed us to enjoy full meals overlooking the sea and served by our butler. Yes, you read that correctly. Every cabin on board has butler service.

Whenever a client tells us about their cruise experience, they always touch on the dining. What was the experience like on the Scenic Eclipse?
The entire dining experience was incredible. I came home and literally said, “That was the best dining I’ve ever had.” With the all-inclusive* experience, all specialty dining is included at any one of the yacht’s 10 dining experiences including Azure Bar & Café where you can enjoy relaxed all-day grazing.

Our favorite was Teppanyaki @ Koko’s featuring private dining with an open Teppanyaki grill. Everything was so perfect, it will be hard to ever enjoy Japanese food as much as we did here.

Notable highlights include a class at Epicure where you can learn to cook like a chef and the espresso + cappuccinos  that rival the Italians.

To recap: beautiful spaces, unexpected delights and delicious fare. Tell us about the service.
The ship can accommodate 228 guests and with a guest to staff ratio of 1:1, there is not a thing they will not do for you. Exemplary service was experienced from our butler service to the chefs to the captain. With many recruits from Seaborne and Crystal luxury cruises, the caliber of service is truly 6-star.

Who is the ideal guest for this type of cruise vacation?
The ship is a first of its kind discovery vessel. A client looking to discover the furthest reaches of the world would love the experience. The ship was built for discovery with 18 onboard Discovery Crew Members taking care of this portion of the trip. With a high concentration of PhDs, this group takes guests closer to nature with the ability to cut through and navigate icy waters, Zodiac boats allowing you to explore shallower waters. The ship is equipped with kayaks, bikes, as well as access to two onboard helicopters and a submarine (nominal fee). An ideal trip would be to Antarctica, more intimate ports throughout Europe or Greenland. 

A luxury yacht is not for everyone, so understanding the true value of the complete experience is important. With your cruise fare comes all excursions, all meals with specialty dining, all drinks, tipping and gratuities, and more. There are no hidden taxes or fees.

Ultimately a discovery yacht vacation is perfect for a client who understands the value of an all-inclusive* experience fused with the ultimate luxurious accommodations. We’re here to help you decide where you want to go on your next adventure.

Visit Boscov’s Travel located within select Boscov’s including Pennsylvania (Camp Hill, Colonial Park/Harrisburg, Easton, Lancaster, Lebanon, Neshaminy/Bensalem, Wyomissing, Reading, Pottstown, Pottsville, Scranton, Selinsgrove, Wilkes-Barre), New York (Binghamton), New Jersey (Atlantic City and Moorestown), Delaware (Wilmington), and Maryland (Salisbury). View our locations here. If you live a little further away, book over the phone by calling us at 800-755-8020. Learn more at boscovstravel.com

*All-inclusive with the exception of submarine excursions, helicopter rides and spa treatments.

The Ultimate All-Inclusive Experience in Mexico

 

The following post is written by Amy Bressler from Boscov’s Travel Camp Hill. Amy is a Honeymoon & Destination Specialist and recently visited the TRS Coral Hotel and The Grand Palladium Hotel in Costa Mujeres, just north of Cancun, Mexico. 

If you’ve ever stayed at a Palladium hotel in Mexico and the Caribbean, then you will love the adults-only sister property – TRS Coral Hotel in Costa Mujeres. TRS Coral Hotel is their newest hotel that’s less than a year old and located a short 35 minute drive from the airport and 20 minutes from the famous Hotel Zone. This hotel will soon become a quick favorite to all!

Far from the bustling hotel zone, Costa Mujeres’s shores are natural dunes without seaweed/Sargassum, rocks, or reefs. Though the beaches lack natural shade from the palms, the umbrella covered loungers and Bali beds offer relief from the sun. The location gives you beautiful views of the beach, Isla de Mujeres and the Cancun skyline to the south. Palladium is fantastic for groups, families, wedding, honeymooners, and singles.

In addition to the service, the atmosphere of a resort is one of the top qualities clients look for when visiting a new hotel. The TRS Coral Hotel is warm and inviting with modern furnishes. With infinity edge fountains and an open, airy lobby, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a lavish hotel in Dubai.

This adult only all-inclusive features huge suites with butler service available for every room. With 24-hour room service, free wifi, keyless wrist band entry into your room, large soaking tub, sitting area with leather sofa, giant flat screen TV, and mood lighting, these rooms feel like your oasis away from home. The rooms include a full minibar, bath products, robe and slippers. The resort rooms feature everything you could ever want in a hotel room and it is all yours! 

We all love to indulge on vacation and TRS Coral Hotel is sure to please. No reservations are needed whether you choose to the buffet, steak house, trendy bars and lounges, or healthy bar. Complemented with oceanfront views, Gaucho the Argentinian steak house was by far my favorite with their surf and turf fare. Or you can see the Chic Cabaret, a 3-hour theatrical dinner production. After dinner, there are endless trendy bars and lounges with entertainment where you can dance those calories away!

By staying at the TRS Coral, you can enjoy unlimited access to Zentropia Palladium Spa & Wellnesscenters every single day of your stay. Relax in the jetted pools, saunas, showers, salt room, and the best part feature – the ice cave!  The spa’s amazing amenities include a roof-top infinity edge pool.

If you’re looking for a family-friendly resort in Costa Mujeres, look no further than The Grand Palladium next to the TRS Coral. You’ll be greeted with an elaborate lobby – a literal art exhibit and definitely a sight to see! This resort offers family friendly rooms and facilities similar to the quality and style of other Palladium resorts throughout Mexico and the Caribbean. With modern amenities, the rooms are well equipped for even toddlers in the family.

Speaking of the entire gang, this hotel offers a bright, fun kids’ clubs and a fun splash park. Even babysitting services are available for families! This resort offers a special section called “Family Selection” – these ocean view split level suites have a Jacuzzi tub on the first level, then a full bedroom and second bath upstairs for mom and dad.  This category gives adults the same privileges as the TRS Coral guests on the adjoining resort property.

This resort features one of two worldwide Rafa Nadal Tennis Centres where you will find 8 clay tennis courts. Bearing the name of the tennis legend and recent US Open Champion Rafa Nadal, this centre offers classes for beginners as well as aspiring professionals.  Throughout the year, camps and classes are held and resort guests can play and will receive equipment for use. This feature is fun for the family and highlights the tennis star’s accomplishments! After a match, stop by the pro-shop and museum to see Nadal’s trophies and uniforms from the years.

This resort features a large convention center, a beautiful Catholic chapel for Sunday service and also capable of hosting ceremonies, the Village where you’ll find restaurants and theatre. Enjoy a 24 hour sports bar, coffee bar along with quaint shops! Make sure to check it out this area of the property as on some night’s vendors are out as well as entertainment.  The complex celebrates everything from Breast Cancer Awareness in October to the Super Bowl. There are endless activities at this well-rounded resort.

If this sound like it would be a perfect wedding destination for you, then you are in luck! There is a fantastic wedding team that will assist with any need a couple could have.  There are various Karen Bussen (wedding coordinator extraordinaire) inspired pre-packaged options or you can customize to make your client’s destination wedding totally unique.

I can’t say enough about this fantastic resort chain from the Palladium family! If you’re ready to book your Mexican getaway, we can make the process easy for you to show up and go!

Disneyland: The Ins and Outs

Pixar Pier in California Adventure Park at Disneyland

The following post is written about Jen from Boscov’s Travel Corporate Department. Jen recently visited Disneyland in May and found out that the magic extends to the west coast. 

Being from the east coast, when we think about Disney, we think Walt Disney World in Florida. Jen, a self-proclaimed Disney fanatic, traveled to the west coast to experience the best of California and couldn’t pass up a trip to Disneyland! Jen gives you the inside scoop and the ins and out of her trip.

Spending 2.5 days at Disneyland, Jen was struck by the notion that she was walking in Walt’s footsteps. You can really imagine everything he wanted the company to be! With time spent between the parks and Downtown Disney, Jen loved every moment of her adventure. But before we dig deep into our interview with Jen, she pointed out the #1 rule when thinking about the Disney parks: comparing Disneyland to Walt Disney World is like comparing apples to oranges – they have two completely different feels. Now that we have that covered, let’s dive in!

 

The Headboards at the Frontier Tower at Disneyland Hotel

While Jen was in Disneyland she stayed at the Disneyland hotel… and highly recommends it! Little magical touches abound and make Disney, well Disney. The headboards even play music and illuminate the room!

Jen noted the parks in Disneyland are in walking distance to the Disney property hotels, so it doesn’t necessarily matter which one you pick. At most, she walked 10 minutes to get to a park! She recommends staying at a Disneyland hotel because of all the included perks – you can walk to the park, score early access to the parks, and more! With early access, Jen rode 5 rides in an hour… all before 8:00AM! It’s safe to say May is a great time to visit Disneyland as there was minimal congestion.  The longest Jen waited in line was 30 minutes.

Disneyland has two parks that are really great in size and location. They have Disneyland Park and California Adventure Park. Disneyland offers lots of fun rides for kids, where California Adventure brings the thrill rides for bigger kids.

Jen at Pop-Up Disney!

Downtown Disney is just outside the parks. This outdoor shopping plaza reminded Jen of the original Downtown Disney in Florida (side note: she made the comparison to help us better visualize). Jen loved the vibe and how it was smaller than Florida’s Disney Springs and she let us in on a little secret (she actually likes this Downtown Disney better). She recommends Pop Up Disney, an experience where you go through a museum-like space with galleries and interactive displays! In some of the galleries Mickey and/or Minnie may be hiding, so you can look and try to find them – what a great activity to do as a family!

Of course we had to ask Jen about her favorite ride… her answer: It’s a Small World because of how different it is in Disneyland. For starters, the ride starts outside (how fun!).

Outside of It’s a Small World

Just a note for seasoned pros of Walt Disney World… FastPasses are not available in advance at Disneyland.  As you enter the park, you are able to navigate to your app and get one FastPass. So yes, you only get one until you use it. You will then get an email indicating you can reserve another one.

Jen mentioned she does not recommend using a FastPass for the World of Color night show. That FastPass allows you to be in the front, but there are no seating options. Plus your view may be slightly blocked and you’ll probably get soaked. We’re with Jen… use that valuable FastPass elsewhere!

Now the best park: Disney’s delicious fare. There are no dining plans in Disneyland, and Jen recommends you be adventurous as there are so many choices. She highly recommends Galactic Grille quick serve in Tomorrowland by Nemo’s Submarine Voyage.

All in all, Disneyland sounds amazing! As a seasoned travel professional, Jen knew exactly what to do. She made the most of her trip with two tapings of Steve Harvey’s Family Feud, a Celebrity Bus Tour, a stop at the San Diego Zoo, and a visit to Warner Brothers’ Studio where she got to sit at the original Central Perk (could we be more envious?!).

Warner Brothers Studio Tour – Central Perk

 

Let us help you plan your California adventure!

Visit Boscov’s Travel located within select Boscov’s including Pennsylvania (Camp Hill, Colonial Park/Harrisburg, Easton, Lancaster, Lebanon, Neshaminy/Bensalem, Wyomissing, Reading, Pottstown, Pottsville, Scranton, Selinsgrove, Wilkes-Barre), New York (Binghamton), New Jersey (Atlantic City and Moorestown), Delaware (Wilmington), and Maryland (Salisbury). View our locations here. If you live a little further away, book over the phone by calling us at 800-755-8020. Learn more at boscovstravel.com

Summer Trip Inspiration (Leave Your Passport at Home)

The following post is written by Amanda from the Boscov’s Travel Marketing Department.

Need some inspiration for trips to take this summer but lapsed on your passport? We’ve got you covered. There’s still time to plan the perfect state-side getaway.

There’s so much to see in our big, beautiful country. Let us take the stress out of planning and get inspired by the relaxing, scenic, and picture perfect destinations right in your backyard.

IDAHO

It sounds bizarre to pick a state not traditionally known as a vacation spot, but this state is one not to be missed. Craters of the Moon National Park represents one of the best preserved flood basalt areas (column rock structure formed by rapid cooling of lava). The average elevation for this park is 5,900 feet above sea level.

Another beautiful sight to see is Shoshone Falls Park, a waterfall on the Snake River and two hours driving distance from Craters of the Moon. Some call this the “Niagara of the West,” and it’s within driving distance of Yellowstone National Park. Rent a car for the day and you can check off two states on the trip.

Travel tip: Idaho is known for its potatoes. Which become french fries (ironically invented by the Belgians) and the best snack ever.

UTAH

Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Arches National Park, and Canyonlands National Park are just some of the parks you can visit while on a trip to Utah. Need I say more?

Even with five national parks, not everyone is into an adventure hiking only vacation (me being one of them). So if you’re not into visiting all the parks you can easily split it up!

My ideal trip there would be two parks and two cities – Park City and Salt Lake City (and of course sitting at a resort staring at the beautiful views). Yes this is all possible to do in a couple days! Park City and Salt Lake City are only a half an hour apart giving you time to experience the beauty of nature and the culture of the people.

SOUTH CAROLINA

One of the most charming southern states, head to Charleston for some real southern hospitality.  Known for their fun nightlife, food, and history you cannot go wrong here.  You can ride a carriage on a historical tour,  head to a plantation or tour a historic mansion like Wentworth Mansion. Charleston also has boat tours, walking tours and even ghost tours! Enjoy a long weekend trip in this beautiful location.

NAPA VALLEY

Oh the wine country! This is the place to go for either a girl’s trip, romantic getaway, or just some time really enjoy views and the good life. We recommend a tour package with four or five days to enjoy the views, vineyards and savor the harvest of the west coast.

Whether you want to just spend all your time at different vineyards or wine and dine on a train through Napa Valley, we can help you achieve it.

Ready for us to plan your next trip? Ask about packages with trusted tour operators to any of these stunning locations and see the best this beautiful nation has to offer!

Visit Boscov’s Travel located within select Boscov’s including Pennsylvania (Camp Hill, Colonial Park/Harrisburg, Easton, Lancaster, Lebanon, Neshaminy/Bensalem, Wyomissing, Reading, Pottstown, Pottsville, Scranton, Selinsgrove, Wilkes-Barre), New York (Binghamton), New Jersey (Atlantic City and Moorestown), Delaware (Wilmington), and Maryland (Salisbury). View our locations here. If you live a little further away, book over the phone by calling us at 800-755-8020. Learn more at boscovstravel.com

More Than Just Mouse Ears in the Sunshine State

The following post is written by Lori from the Boscov’s Travel Marketing Department.

For 45 years, Boscov’s Travel has made it easy to get to the most magical place on earth with non-stop flights from select local airports (Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton). A majority of our clients use this convenient way to travel and decide to spend the whole 7-days in Disney, but others – like my family and I – venture to other parts of the sunshine state. Below is an overview of our vacation, my recommendations on traveling with a 6- and 3-year old, what we loved about it and why we are already planning to do it again next year.


Non-stop flight from Lancaster Airport to Orlando, FL 

So much to do, but who can go to Florida without going to Disney?

After a relatively easy trip down to Florida (hop to CVS if you are traveling with anyone who doesn’t like the ear popping from the cabin air pressure and purchase Earplanes; I’m not sure they worked or were a placebo, but no complaints from my otherwise not so happy to fly son) we hopped in our rental car (ahem, van) and headed to Animal Kingdom for the day. Our FastPass+ for the day included:
1) Expedition Everest – my 6 year old son LOVED this ride! I was surprised because he is typically timid about trying new things, especially a roller coaster, but he was grinning from ear to ear after both times riding it. And how did he ride it two times back to back? Disney has genius people who work for them and developed a Rider Swap/Switch program…. “If a child does not meet the height requirement or a Guest does not wish to board a particular attraction, no problem! With Rider Switch, one adult can wait with the non-rider (or riders) while the rest of the party enjoys the attraction. When the other adult returns, they can supervise the non-riding Guests, and the waiting adult can board the attraction without having to wait in the regular line again!” 3 guests are allowed back per rider switch pass which is how he got to ride it twice, lucky kid! Recommendation: A+
2) Kilimanjaro Safaris – bigger than all of Magic Kingdom, Kilimanjaro Safaris is truly a unique experience every time. Highlights this time around included a baby giraffe and an aggressive ostrich. Recommendation: A+

Kilimanjaro Safaris

3) Dinosaur – noted as being dark, scary, loud and jerky… I would say those are 100% accurate statements. My adventurous 3-year old daughter (who is surprisingly tall for her age and met the height requirements) was excited to ride it, but noted “I didn’t like that ride at all,” at the end. My recommendation would be to not use a FastPass+ on this ride. If the standby wait is under 15 minutes and someone in your party really wants to try it, go for it. Otherwise, I’d say it’s a leave-it attraction. Recommendation: thumbs down

We also all went on Kali River Rapids (check the height requirements for little ones). While in the standby line, which was about 45 minutes, we ordered some counter service food from Harambe Market with the new mobile ordering feature offered on the My Disney Experience app. Having that extra time to look through the menu – especially with picky eaters – was super convenient. And not having to stand in the long lines that can form was icing on the cake (I didn’t get cake). And we got to fully enjoy Kali River Rapids. Both of my kids loved this ride and while you do get wet, it’s not terrible. We would have rode it twice, if our lunch wasn’t ready for us already!

Kali River Rapids

With loads of shows, attractions, rides, Animal Kingdom has grown into a park you can truly stay the whole day at and never truly see it all.

Family/kid-friendly activities to do in Sarasota: 1) Gorgeous beaches

About a 2 hour drive from Orlando, Sarasota boasts diverse dining options, enriching arts and culture and last but certainly not least, the most beautiful white sandy beaches with crystal clear blue waters you typically find in the Caribbean. Plus, there is usually little to no waves, so the ocean becomes the biggest swimming pool and is always just the right temperature. We adore the beaches in Sarasota for free parking, free “admission” onto the beaches, concession stands that have delicious lunch options, playgrounds with shade and nice running paths for a pre-beach workout. Our go to beach is Lido Beach for all of the previous mentioned amenities, especially the lobster rolls at Lido Beach Restaurant.


Lido Beach, Sarasota

Family/kid-friendly activities to do in Sarasota: 2) Myakka River State Park

Noted as being the “real Florida”, Myakka River State Park is full of wildflower cover prairies, wild wetlands and gorgeous pinelands. The majestic Myakka River flows though 58 square miles of one of Florida’s oldest and largest parks. I would recommend first time visitors to stop at the Visitor Center to learn about all the park has to offer including hiking, biking, camping, boat tours and more. The park rangers at the Visitor Center are very knowledgeable about the park and debunked the tale if an alligator is chasing you, run in a zip-zag pattern (do this and they’ll just get to you quicker as they can do short spurts up to 30mph). We enjoyed driving around the park, exploring and stopping at all of the “alligator sighting” spots. Although the highlight of the day was the canopy walk. “Completed in 2000, this structure is the first public treetop trail in North America. The walkway is suspended 25 feet above the ground and extends 100 feet through the hammock canopy. The taller tower soars 74 feet in the air to present a spectacular view of treetops, wetlands, and the prairie/hammock interface. You can look down on eagles, hawks, vultures, and the tops of Live Oak and Sabal Palm trees.” Florida State Park site. 

Canopy walkway, Myakka State Park

Hammock Canopy, Myakka State Park

A pre-packed picnic lunch by the lake, enjoying the beauty of wildflowers blooming, some shopping at the gift shop and more adventures to see alligators ended our day at Myakka State Park. A definite must see in Southwest Florida.

Family/kid-friendly activities to do in Sarasota: 3) Sarasota Jungle Gardens

Mixed reviews had us going into this adventure with little expectations, but it ended up being one of our favorite activities for both the kids and adults alike. Activities include: feed a flamingo, hold a parrot, attend a variety of wildlife shows, feed an alligator and more. The highlights of the day were obviously feeding the flamingos and holding parrots, seen below.

 

Family/kid-friendly activities to do in Sarasota: 4) Miscellaneous

Along with everything mentioned above, Sarasota offers unique shopping and dining in St. Armands Circle, boat tours, – or if you are more adventurous – boat rentals, miniature golf, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey museum, beautiful botanical Gardens, aquariums, famous sights and landmarks including the Unconditional Surrender Sculpture and so much more.

If you are looking for for a well-rounded vacation with tropical vibes all while still staying in the US, I’d highly recommend Sarasota for all the area has to offer. And most importantly, traveling the Lancaster Airport in Pennsylvania made getting to Florida super convenient and stress free, a service in which only Boscov’s Travel can provide on the Boscov’s Travel Exclusive Charter to Orlando. To learn more about this feature (non-stop flights from select local airports: Reading, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton), contact your local Boscov’s Travel Specialist or call 800-755-8020.

If you’re ready to start planning your Florida getaway, email travelrequest@boscovs.com or call 800-755-8020.

Visit Boscov’s Travel located within select Boscov’s including Pennsylvania (Camp Hill, Colonial Park/Harrisburg, Easton, Lancaster, Lebanon, Neshaminy/Bensalem, Wyomissing, Reading, Pottstown, Pottsville, Scranton, Selinsgrove, Wilkes-Barre), New York (Binghamton), New Jersey (Atlantic City and Moorestown), Delaware (Wilmington), and Maryland (Salisbury). View our locations here. If you live a little further away, book over the phone by calling us at 800-755-8020. Learn more at boscovstravel.com

Oh Joy! There’s So Much to Love About Norwegian’s Newly Reimagined Ship

Introducing the New Norwegian Joy

The following post is written by Amanda from the Boscov’s Travel Marketing Department.

Have you ever heard of a ship that gets refurbished after only two years? Probably not – it’s unheard of. Once again, though, Norwegian Cruise Line doesn’t disappoint and has decided to refurbish the Norwegian Joy for the American market. Originally created for the Asian market, this ship underwent a $50 million makeover and let me tell you, this ship is GORGEOUS!

With a guest capacity over 3,800 and overall length 1,094 feet, this ship features a race track like sister ship Bliss, and so much more. It will make you feel like you’re living in an entertainment-packed resort no matter where you are on the ship. Take on the challenge of outdoor laser tag and virtual experiences, ride the first of its kind two level race track… then check out the water slide that hangs 11 feet off the side of the ship, the casino, observation lounge, splash academy, teen club, and a kids’ aqua park – there is something do for every member of the family.

After my extensive research, I must say I’m so obsessed with the wide range of dining options (yes, I am restaurant guru). There is an American diner restaurant, an outdoor promenade and The Waterfront where you can eat outdoors overlooking the beautiful ocean! Enjoy 16 dining options – – food is everywhere you turn.

So the big question: how can you experience this beautiful cruise ship? She will be sailing year round – summers in Alaska and the rest of the year sailing the Mexican Riviera, from Miami and LA to the Panama Canal. So if any of these sound interesting to you then get ready to sail!

I’m excited with anticipation as I’m about to book my first cruise (through Boscov’s Travel, of course) and am absolutely considering this ship! It really looks like a dream vacation with endless possibilities and things to do! Great job Norwegian! I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.


If you’re ready to start planning your Norwegian Cruise aboard the Norwegian Joy, email travelrequest@boscovs.com or call 800-755-8020.

Visit Boscov’s Travel located within select Boscov’s including Pennsylvania (Camp Hill, Colonial Park/Harrisburg, Easton, Lancaster, Lebanon, Neshaminy/Bensalem, Wyomissing, Reading, Pottstown, Pottsville, Scranton, Selinsgrove, Wilkes-Barre), New York (Binghamton), New Jersey (Atlantic City and Moorestown), Delaware (Wilmington), and Maryland (Salisbury). View our locations here. If you live a little further away, book over the phone by calling us at 800-755-8020. Learn more at boscovstravel.com

Italy, France, Walt Disney World: the Top Restaurants to Savor When Traveling

The following post is written by Amanda from the Boscov’s Travel Marketing Department. 

Traveling to Europe or Disney anytime soon? When traveling, half the battle of vacation is unwinding. If you’re like me, you don’t want to spend the afternoon planning where to go to dinner. After extensive research (and at times, my own experience), below are restaurants I recommend in Italy, France, and around the world in Disney. I will go over Italy, and France and of course my favorite, Disney World.

Italy

Club del Doge Restaurant

This restaurant in Venice, Italy has a beautiful location on the Grand Canal. Even if you decide to forgo the outdoor seating, inside is very warm and welcoming with old world charm. The fare is not inexpensive but you won’t be disappointed as you discover culinary innovations while sipping Italian grappa. This place is so Instagramable.

https://www.clubdeldoge.com/

 

Da Vittorio

A country restaurant sure to please, this chateaux in La Cantalupa (near Milan and Lake Como) overlooks beautiful vineyards juxtaposed against the Apennines mountains… just looking at the photos has me in a state of zen. With a delicious menu that has rave reviews, it is the picture perfect scene for any occasion. This is definitely being added to my bucket list!

http://www.davittorio.com/en/restaurants/da-vittorio.html

Positano’s Ristorante La Sponda

Located in the heart of the Village of Positano, this Mediterranean restaurant based in the Naplese tradition has views to die for. At night over 400 candles illuminate the room giving an ethereal atmosphere with views of the Amalfi coast. At this restaurant, the executive chef at 32 years of age has already had so much success in his career.  I would say this is the place to experience one fine dining experience or a nice romantic date in Positano. If you decide to go, please let me know about your visit!

https://sirenuse.prenota-web.it/prenotazioni/frameset.asp?ristorante=laspondaC&lang=en

 

France

Bustronome

This may be my favorite idea EVER! A restaurant on a luxurious bus with panoramic dome glass views while touring the city of Paris (plus if you’re headed to London for a leg of your trip, there’s a Bustronome there as well). I mean what could get better than that? Once you enter you will completely forget that you’re on this bus – it is a custom stable vehicle that adapts to every road imperfection. You’ll enjoy four to six courses for brunch, lunch, or dinner. This makes me want to hop on a plane and get to France ASAP! With these gorgeous views of these cities and the panoramic windows through the whole bus, or restaurant I should say, this is for sure worth the price for France!

https://www.bustronome.com/

Epicure

Another picture perfect, classically French scene. With the elegance and the beautiful set up, I have to say when I look at this place I somehow feel like a princess. Being the restaurant of Chef Eric Frechon, a three time Michelin star honoree, this is a place you will talk about for years to come.
https://www.oetkercollection.com/hotels/le-bristol-paris/restaurants-bar/restaurants/epicure/

 

Walt Disney World

California Grille

Everyone talks about it, but not everyone can visit. This is Disney fine dining at its finest. Let me tell you from firsthand experience – this is the place to be in Disney World. The best part – the delectable meals can be included in your dining plan, just save an extra meal credit and use here for an evening out. As an added bonus, from the top floor of the Contemporary Resort, you’ll have spectacular views of the Disney fireworks with a perspective you won’t see anywhere else. This is the way to go… even the staff will pause what they are doing as the lights dim and everyone tunes in to watch the show. They also have an observatory deck if you prefer to be outside then at your seat. Either way, you cannot go wrong!

Cinderella Royal Table

A restaurant every little princess dreams of – dining in the castle! This is the hardest reservation to get… you are brought to entrance of the castle. This is a place I try every year to get and have yet to succeed, but when I do you will know about it! Here’s a tip: if you’re staying at a Disney resort, you can book at 6:00AM, 180 days out from the first day of your stay.

50’s Prime Time Café

Located in Hollywood Studios, you’ll step into this past with this 50’s theme diner restaurant. I’m not going to lie, out of all the restaurants mentioned above, this is probably my least favorite for tasting but it makes up for it with atmosphere! A reasonable sit-down restaurant in Disney, I think it is a great place for kids to be kids and enjoy! Seriously. Let the kids put their hands on the table, chew with their mouth open, and have no manners. It’s all a part of the theme. The staff are very sassy and will playfully scold you like you’re in your grandma’s house in the 50’s! If you are a fan of fried chicken, I suggest you order Aunt Liz’s Fried Chicken – it’s delicious! You’ll create memories here to last a lifetime (and maybe be a little more thankful you weren’t born in the 50’s).

 

Ready to try these yummy places?!

If you’re ready to start planning your next vacation, email travelrequest@boscovs.com or call 800-755-8020. Visit Boscov’s Travel located within select Boscov’s including Pennsylvania (Camp Hill, Colonial Park/Harrisburg, Easton, Lancaster, Lebanon, Neshaminy/Bensalem, Wyomissing, Reading, Pottstown, Pottsville, Scranton, Selinsgrove, Wilkes-Barre), New York (Binghamton), New Jersey (Atlantic City and Moorestown), Delaware (Wilmington), and Maryland (Salisbury). View our locations here. If you live a little further away, book over the phone by calling us at 800-755-8020. Learn more at boscovstravel.com

Do I Really Need Travel Insurance?

Do you need travel insurance? It’s the age old question. Travel protection isn’t fun to think about. Who wants to consider what could go wrong when you’re planning your big trip this year…

Here’s the truth. There’s a really good chance your vacation will go off without a hitch; you’ll have Insta-worthy pics and memories to last a lifetime. But with all things, there’s a small chance it will not go as planned. We’ve seen it all – families with a child who breaks their foot in a pool and needs to fly home on a different flight, hurricanes that delay vacation plans for days or weeks, and even a client who needed weeks’ long medical attention in Europe while his partner needed a hotel and to change flights. Luckily in all of these cases, the clients purchased travel protection to protect their travel investment.

So what’s the cost? Here’s an example.

As you can see, the brothers purchased the same trip and everything else even, by spending less than 4% in travel protection, Marvin was able to safeguard his investment and focus on the fun. Meanwhile, Mark’s trip hit a snag early, making the trip start off on the wrong foot knowing that he would be responsible for the additional expenses.

Ultimately it’s up to you, but we highly recommend travel protection. We can help you navigate the options and coverage to find the plan that’s right for you. In the meantime, you can get an idea about cost and coverage by using our handy travel protection calculator here.

Whatever you choose to do, we’re here to help.

 

Visit Boscov’s Travel located within select Boscov’s including Pennsylvania (Camp Hill, Colonial Park/Harrisburg, Easton, Lancaster, Lebanon, Neshaminy/Bensalem, Wyomissing, Reading, Pottstown, Pottsville, Scranton, Selinsgrove, Wilkes-Barre), New York (Binghamton), New Jersey (Atlantic City and Moorestown), Delaware (Wilmington), and Maryland (Salisbury). View our locations here. If you live a little further away, book over the phone by calling us at 800-755-8020. Learn more at boscovstravel.com