My personal experience onboard the Disney Dream

The following post was written by Ken, Branch Manager at our Camp Hill location and is a review of his recent experience onboard Disney Cruise Line’s Dream and the ports of call.

Almost 25 years had passed since I last sailed on Disney Cruise Line. It was both Disney Cruise Lines’ first year and their first ship, the Disney Magic. Walt Disney World was still celebrating their 25th anniversary. Fast forward to October 2021 – my wife and I took our second Disney Cruise on the Disney Dream. This was also our first post-pandemic cruise and I was quite ready to have a change of scenery and take a “real trip.”

I knew that travel during COVID times was going to be a little different. After spending a couple days at Walt Disney World (this time celebrating 50 years), we headed over to Port Canaveral to prepare to board the ship. The protocol was to be vaccinated and take a pre-cruise rapid-antigen test at the pier. Disney very efficiently administered the testing and within 40 minutes we were notified on their Disney Cruise Line Navigator app that we were cleared to board. 

At that time we were required to wear masks in indoor public spaces on the ship, but this requirement has since been lifted. The word on the pier was that there were about 1,500 passengers onboard a ship holding up to 4,000. The lack of people onboard certainly made it easy to space people out. In the theatre we were seated at least one row and three seats away from any other passengers. We were even encouraged to only share the elevators with those you were traveling with.  

Our 4-night sailing was both a special Halloween-themed voyage and a double visit to Castaway Cay, DCL’s private island in the Bahamas. The Dream was decked out in fall decorations and the lobby’s centerpiece was a spooky pumpkin tree (which became the backdrop of many photos). Guests and crew really went all out for Halloween. Costumes were encouraged on several evenings and guests really got into the spirit. The costumes were mostly homemade and either Disney-themed or pirates.  It seemed like the entire ship dressed up for “Pirate Night,” including the dining room staff and all the Disney characters. Pirate Night culminated with everyone out on deck for DCL’s exclusive “fireworks at sea” show.  

Throughout the cruise we gladly lined up to have our photos taken with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald and so on. Sometimes this was in the lobby, other times it was up by the pool on Castaway Cay. We mostly used the adults-only pool deck area; but, since there were hardly any lines, we happily rode the AquaDuck Water Coaster numerous times. This was a Disney Cruise after all, where Disney music plays throughout the ship (except in the adults-only areas) and Disney movies are on the big (make that HUGE) screen out by the pool. We were happy to revert back to being kids for a few days when appropriate.

We kept track of all the happenings on the Disney app on our phone which included our “rotational dining” throughout the ship, plus all the various entertainment. I remembered “rotating” through the various dining rooms on our first Disney cruise and how the wait staff remains with you. The big “wow” show was their Broadway style version of “Beauty and the Beast.” It was extremely well done. Other smaller venues offered singers or music throughout the ship. 

The highlight during the day was our TWO visits to the beautiful Castaway Cay. We took the shuttle to the adult beach, Serenity Bay at the far end of the island. The water here was crystal clear and very calm. You didn’t really have to leave the adults area as it had it’s own bar and a fantastic buffet/grill area. 

I still dream about tropical Castaway Cay and the amazing Disney Dream. I just hope we don’t wait another 25 years to go again!

The newest adventures at your favorite Orlando Theme Parks

Boscov’s Travel offers exclusive non-stop flights from select local airports in PA to Orlando, FL and are the fastest way to get to the magic and surrounding area. You are one flight away – our Southwest chartered flights are out of Reading, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (AVOCA), and Harrisburg Airports – from the new attractions and fun adventures at your favorite Orlando theme parks!

What’s new at Walt Disney World Resort?

Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary

Walt Disney World Resort has been celebrating their 50th Anniversary since October 1, 2021 and the celebration is lasting an entire 18 months! Everyone will have a chance to see the new magic – new celebrations have been brought to all four theme parks and beyond! The Cinderella Castle added to its royal makeover from last year with a beautiful, golden 50th Anniversary crest. Guest’s favorite characters including Mickey, Minney and friends have new looks to go along with the celebration. There’s even a new MagicBand called MagicBand+ that allows guests to engage in interactive experiences around the theme parks. The MagicBand+ reacts to park interactions with lighting effects, gesture recognition and more. How magical! But wait it gets better…

This celebration becomes even more EARidescent (a new word coined by Disney) at night – all four parks will have even more magic! The castle at Magic Kingdom will sprinkle with pixie dust, the Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom will inhabit magical fireflies, the Hollywood Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studio’s will have new touches that bring it to life, and lastly EPCOT will feature new lights reflecting into the sky off Spaceship Earth. This is only a glimpse at this 18-month EARidescent celebration. You’ll just have to experience the all-new magic for yourself.

Disney Genie

This all-new digital service can be found in the My Disney Experience app and is designed to create the most magical day ever including attractions, food experiences, and character meet and greets. Check out everything there is to know about Disney Genie on our blog here.

Super Zoom Magic Shots

There’s nothing quite like taking advantage of Disney’s PhotoPass, right? Disney PhotoPass Photographers are now offering Super Zoom Magic Shots at all four theme parks! What does Super Zoom Magic Shots mean? It means that photos are taken at a very far distance using a powerful zoom lens and these shots are combined to create a short video. These videos start right in on guests and zoom out to show some of the park’s biggest attractions! All you need to do is have an active Disney PhotoPass Service and find a Disney PhotoPass photographer in their locations. Don’t forget to smile big for your Super Zoom Magic Shots!

Magic Kingdom – Disney Enchantment

A brand-new nighttime fireworks display ascends over the Cinderella Castle for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary. The Castle features magic inspiring effects that (for the first time ever) span all the way down Main Street! This new display is magical and fun, and will fill you with imagination and hope. Throughout Disney Enchantment guests will be able to see their favorite Disney Characters as they explore the world of magic. Don’t forget to check your My Disney Experience App to find showtimes for the day of your visit. Since this is an outdoor show, it is subject to cancellation due to inclement weather.

EPCOT – New Entrance Fountain

The new Entrance Fountain contains crystal pylons and stands in the footprint of the original fountain that welcomed guests on the park’s opening day in 1982. Do any retro-Disney fans remember this? We sure do! Spaceship Earth complements the fountain as a backdrop. At night the fountain matches Spaceship Earth’s new lighting while displaying an array of colors that reflect off the night sky. We can’t wait to see this beautiful addition in person.

EPCOT – Space 220 Restaurant

To begin your journey, you will step into a “space elevator” that will transport you 220 miles above Earth to a space station. On the way to the station, guests will see an ariel view of EPCOT from viewports. As you dine, you will have a front row view of the Earth and cosmos through expansive windows both day and night.

Choose from a 2-course meal at lunch or a 3-course meal at dinner – both featuring modern American cuisine. For an appetizer choose from Blue Moon Cauliflower to Big Bang Burrata. Next try a Centauri Burger for the main course, and then enjoy a sweet send-off from the dessert menu. Your taste-buds will feel out of this world… no pun intended. Reservations for dining and park are required.

EPCOT – Harmonious

Harmonious is one of the largest nighttime spectaculars Disney Parks has ever created. This new show is located at World Showcase Lagoon in EPCOT. The show is crafted by new innovations including giant floating screens, choreographed moving fountains, lights, pyrotechnics, and lasers all in a 360-degree view. Harmonious features familiar Disney music and stories in brand new ways. Disney songs even change from language to language as the show brings people from all parts of the world together in harmony. How cool does this sound? We want to go right now! Don’t forget to check your My Disney Experience App to find showtimes for the day of your visit. Since this is an outdoor show, it is subject to cancellation due to inclement weather.

EPCOT – France Pavilion

When approaching France, you’ll cross over the Pont des Arts inspired footbridge where you’ll have a beautiful view of the Seine waterfront, flower carts and streetside artists. As you stroll the pavilion, you’ll walk along cobblestone streets and have the tune of romantic music all around. The “Eiffel Tower” is in view being sized one tenth of the actual tower in France. The center fountain is an incredible place to sit, relax and people watch if you’d like. You can visit the French gardens and may even see Belle from Beauty and the Beast. (Check the park schedule for appearances). In the France Pavilion you can shop for souvenirs, drink champagne or even eat a delicious crepe. You’ll definitely feel like you’ve been transported to France with this new Pavilion!

EPCOT – Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure

Shrink down to Chef Remy’s Size in this 4-D culinary adventure located at the France Pavilion. Riders will join Chef Remy on a culinary adventure that will captivate their senses as they dash through the kitchen, dining room, and walls with Remy. Don’t forget to check your My Disney Experience App to learn whether a virtual or standby line will be available for this adventure on the day of your visit.

Star Wars: Galactic Cruiser

Star Wars: Galactic Cruiser is a 2-night immersive experience where guests will go on their very own, first-of-its-kind Star Wars Adventure. Once you arrive at the Walt Disney World Resort terminal, you will board a launch pod with the Halcyon starcruiser. You may choose to stay in a cabin or suite that will give you an incredible view of space. Throughout the ship you can interact with characters, eat exotic galactic cuisine and more!

Highlights include:

-New and familiar Star Wars Characters need your help – embark on secret missions and create alliances.

-Wield a lightsaber against a remote training device.

-Explore and operate the ship’s systems and controls.

-Engage in unique missions and experiences

At Star Wars: Galactic Cruiser you can make the choice to join the Resistance or walk on the dark side. What side do you choose?

What’s new at Universal Studios Orlando?

Universal’s Islands of Adventures: Jurassic World VelociCoaster

Are you a rollercoaster fan? Well, this new rollercoaster is Florida’s fastest and tallest launch roller coaster! Guests will race alongside a pack of velociraptors and feel the rush of the hunt with twisting and soaring above land and water. We’re excited to get on this thrill ride. Are you?

Universal Studios: The Bourne Stuntacular

Do you enjoy stunt shows? This one is stuntacular! Guests will follow Jason Bourne as he outruns evil characters. You will see Bourne dangle from a helicopter, be chased on rooftops and by a motorcycle! Be prepared for fistfights, shootouts and danger as Bourne is on the run.

Universal Studios: DreamWorks Destination

Do you have children or grandchildren? This one’s for them! Located in Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone, kids can dance, strike a pose, and have fun with many of their favorite DreamWorks’ characters. Characters are from fan favorite DreamWorks’ movies including Madagascar, Trolls, Puss in Boots, Kung Fu Panda, and more! The best part is that this is all in air-conditioned comfort. You can’t beat that, right? Appearances of characters are subject to change without notice.

These new attractions and fun adventures are just the beginning – there’s so much more to explore in Orlando, Florida. So, what are you waiting for? Orlando is calling your name and we’re saving a seat on our Exclusive Charter to Orlando just for you this Spring! View our Spring Charters here and start planning today.

Halloween Fans Vacations

Spooky thrills, the hair on your neck standing straight up, screams, and pumpkins – nothing sounds better to a Halloween fan than this. It’s October, are you itching for some Halloween fun? We’ve pulled together some of the best vacation spots for Halloween thrills for all ages. We promise you’ll be shaking in your boots and having the time of your life. Now is the perfect time to start planning a ghoulish getaway for next year.

1 – Savannah, Georgia – Known as the city that’s built on top of her dead as there’s always a cemetery nearby

© Ghost City Tours
Grave Tales Ghost Tour:

• All ages
• 90-minutes
• Walking tour
• Alcohol and pet friendly tour
• History and haunting
• Visit Savannah Haunted Mansions, Historic Homes, Haunted Cemeteries, Burial grounds, Revolutionary War Battlefield, and more
• Visit Johnson Square where you could meet Little Gracie. This spirit plays in the square and is known for grabbing guests’ hands

© Ghost City Tours
Dead of Night Ghost Tour:

• Ages 16 +, most popular adults only tour
• 90-minutes
• Walking tour
• Alcohol and pet friendly tour
• Explore locations where darker hauntings take place like demons, possessions and murders – you’ll always be watched on this tour
• Visit 5-8 locations including: the Foley House Inn and the Sorrel Weed House

© Trolley Tours
Ghosts and Gravestones Trolley Tour:

• Ages 13+
• 1-hour
• Trolley tour
• Haunted sites, eerie legends, and frightening residents
• Visit the Andrew Low House, Perkins & Son’s Ship Chandlery, cemeteries, bloodshed battlegrounds, and more

2 – New Orleans, Louisiana – Known for it’s rich and dark history haunts

© Ghost City Tours
Haunted Pub Crawl:

• Ages 21+
• 2-hours
• Walking tour
• Alcohol friendly – drinks keep flowing
• Visit haunted pubs and restaurants
• Visit the Haunted Bourbon Orleans, the Ghosts of Tujague’s, Pirate’s Alley, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, and more

© Ghost City Tours
The Killers and Thrillers Tour:

• Ages 16+
• 90-minutes
• Walking tour
• Alcohol and pet friendly tour
• If you’re a true crime fan, this one’s for you – you’ll learn about the most notorious and gruesome crimes of the city
• Visit the Pharmacy Museum, Sultan’s Palace, Beauregard-Keyes House and follow an off beaten path for more

© Ghost City Tours
Ghosts of New Orleans Tour:

• All ages
• 90-minutes
• Walking tour
• Alcohol and pet friendly tour
• Visit some of New Orleans most famous haunted locations including: Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, LaLaurie Mansion, the Andrew Jackson hotel, the Haunted Hotel Villa Convento, and more

3 – Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Orlando, Florida – Known for its not too spooky magical time


Boo Bash:

• All ages
• 3-hours
• Trick-or-treating throughout the park
• Shorter wait times
• Parades
• Performances
• Characters in Halloween attire
• Special décor, lighting and music
• Ice cream novelties, popcorn, and select beverages included in event cost
• Festive food and beverages including: foolish mortal funnel cake and apple ginger dale frozen drink (allergy-free options available)

4 – Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida & Hollywood, California – the 30th year of the world’s premier Halloween event

© Universal Studios
Halloween Horror Nights

• Ages 13+
• Hours vary between 6:30pm and 2:00am
• Scare zones where you’ll be surrounded by shadows lurking, scares, screams, and thrills
• 13 Haunted Houses including: Beetlejuice, the Haunting of Hill House, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Universal Monsters: the Bride of Frankenstein, Case Files Unearthed: Legendary Truth, and more
• Jack the Clown will be back lunging from the shadows
• Mazes
• Select rides and attractions
• Live entertainment
• Themed foods and drinks including alcoholic beverages

These thrilling locations and tours make our hairs stand up – we’re excited to go! Are you ready for the biggest spooks and fun of your life? Dare to begin your Halloween vacation now by visiting our start planning page today. Outside of the area? We are happy to assist you online and by phone at 800-755-8020.

 

Niles Virtual Office – Grand Opening!

Boscov’s Travel Virtual Office Grand Opening

 

New and exciting things are coming to Boscov’s Travel! We’re thrilled for the grand opening of our Virtual Travel Office in Niles, Ohio on October 7, 2021. The virtual office is located near the courtesy desk within the all-new Niles, Ohio Boscov’s in the Eastwood Mall. The office has a touch-screen kiosk with a webcam and microphone that clients can use to live video chat with our Boscov’s Travel Advisors along with a printer to receive documents. In addition to live chats, clients can use the touch-screen capabilities to learn more About Us, Meet Our Advisors, and check out some details on different vacation options in the “Wanna Get Away?” section. Here you can also learn about our full services including leisure travel, wedding/honeymoon travel, group travel and business travel.

We are very excited to kick off our first ever Virtual Travel Office! To celebrate, we will be having a month-long company-wide Grand Opening Sale with exclusive travel bonus deals from many of our top preferred travel partners. Visit boscovstravel.com/niles for these awesome deals. We can’t wait to serve our new clients in Niles, Ohio.

Get to know the all-new Disney Genie

It’s almost time for Walt Disney World Resort to release Genie from the lamp! We want to help you get prepared and understand this exciting new service! This fall the Disney Genie service will be coming to Walt Disney World Resort. This new digital service can be found in the My Disney Experience app and is designed to create the most magical day ever. Disney Genie includes a personalized itinerary feature that will map out your entire day for you. This includes attractions, food experiences, and character meet and greets. We can’t wait! Check out the array of choices that Disney Genie provides to fit anyone’s magical day.

Here’s what’s included:

Disney Genie – Complimentary
• Personalized itineraries and tip board
• Updates to your itinerary throughout your day
• Current and predicted wait times
• Join virtual queues at certain attractions
• Restaurant wait list and check in
• Dining and experience reservations
• Mobile food orders
• Virtual assistant

Disney Genie+ – Available for purchase of $15 per ticket per day at Walt Disney World Resort and $20 per ticket per day at Disneyland Resort
• Everything included in the Complimentary Disney Genie Service
• Lightning Lane* for more than 40 attractions at Walt Disney World Resort and over 15 attractions at Disneyland Resort
• Walt Disney World PhotoPass AR Lenses and Disneyland PhotoPass downloads from the day
• Audio experiences

Individual Attractions Selections – Available for purchase
• Schedule a time to arrive at up to two highly in-demand attractions each day with Lightning Lane* entrance (Attractions not included with Disney Genie+)

*Disney Genie’s Lightning Lane will replace FASTPASS, FastPass+ and MaxPass services.

The new Disney Genie service is truly unique and will provide new flexibility and choices for all needs. We’re extremely excited for Disney to rub the lamp and bring Disney Genie to life. Be sure to speak with a Boscov’s Travel Authorized Disney Vacation Planner about how Disney Genie can work for your next Disney vacation. Already purchased Disney tickets? No worries. We can help you add the Disney Genie to your package.

 

2022 Orlando Charters are Here

Boscov's Travel Orlando Charter

We are continuing to provide convenient non-stop flights from select local airports in PA to Orlando, Florida so you can visit your favorite parks, attractions and beaches in 2022! With updated safety measures in place, we will be sure to make it as safe as possible for you.

Boscov’s Travel is both an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner and Universal Preferred Travel Agency with a wealth of knowledge to customize your travel package any way you like. Come fly aboard a chartered Southwest Airlines 737 jet with us.

What’s included in the Boscov’s Travel charter?

Included in all Boscov’s Travel Orlando Charters:

  • Non-stop air aboard a Southwest Airlines® charter flight between your choice of three local airports and Orlando, FL
  • The gift of one complimentary Boscov’s Travel cinch-sac per person

Additional Services you can add:

With all the recent changes in Disney travel and available packages, it can be confusing. Talk with your trusted Disney travel expert and they will guide you through all the new processes in place to make the most of your Orlando Charter. You choose your itinerary in Florida. Searching for sunshine and crystal-clear blue waters within the U.S. at one of the famed Gulf Coast beaches or a faster pace at Universal Orlando Resort? Planning for the most magical place on Earth? Enjoy travel arrangements for Magic KingdomEpcotDisney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, plus Disney’s Water Park options. Your Boscov’s Travel Advisor will customize your package any way you like. Learn more about Walt Disney World

Southwest 737 airplane

What are the benefits of flying from a local airport?

  • These airports offer less congestion than driving to regional airports, little or no fees for 7-day parking, shorter security lines, and overall, less hassle.

Southwest doesn’t offer reserved seating. Can I be guaranteed to sit with my family?

  • Because of our exclusive partnership with Southwest Airlines, we are able to offer you complimentary reserved seating.

What time are the flights?

  • Flights depart at approximately 8:00 AM Sunday morning and return the following Saturday evening.

 

Universal Studios

What do you charge for Disney tickets? What about Universal Orlando tickets?

We offer competitive pricing for Disney vacations and Universal Orlando theme parks. Rates vary by season and available offers. Talk to an Advisor and request a quote today!

How much is parking at the airport?

  • Parking is free at Reading and Harrisburg airports. There is a nominal fee for parking at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton airport.

How much do you charge for luggage?

  • Your checked luggage flies free. Each passenger is entitled to one checked bag not to exceed 50 lbs., plus one carry-on bag and one personal item.

I’m ready to book my flight on Boscov’s Travel Exclusive Charter to Orlando!

Great! Visit our locations and hours page for find your closest Boscov’s Travel location to start planning today! Outside of the area? We are happy to assist you online and by phone at 800-755-8020.

 

Holiday Travel: Where to go for the Holiday Season

The following post is written by Amanda from the Boscov’s Travel marketing department.
Before you know it, the holidays will be here (I know some of my colleagues have started decorating for Christmas already!). If you are like me and like to plan ahead to avoid the rush, stress and are not quite your house can fit one.more.toy., consider giving the gift of travel. Besides, statistics show 53.1% of people report receiving unwanted gifts during Christmas. Give your family, friend or loved one a dream vacation, tour, cruise because we can guarantee that gift will not end up in the trash (like the 4% that are immediately thrown there!). Below are tips and recommendations on where to go on 1) an extended vacation 2) a weekend getaway as well as 3) day trips to experience this holiday season.
Extended vacation

WALT DISNEY WORLD
Most people typically associate the most magical place on earth with summer vacations, but visiting the magic during the holiday season can be the best time to go. The Christmas lights, decorations, shows, weather, WAIT times… yes you heard me right – there are typically less crowds! Just travel before December 23rd as this starts the peak week for Disney crowds and lasts until New Years. My family typically travels to Disney the second week of December and it’s about 70-75 degrees during the day and high 60’s in the evening. It’s so perfect considering Pennsylvania is about 30 degrees at that time.
Let us help you plan your Disney holiday. We still have 2019 packages available through our exclusive non-stop flights from select local airports. Call or visit your local Boscov’s Travel to plan your magical vacation!

CRUISING
If you’ve ever been on a cruise during a holiday, you know the staff goes all out! Whether it be Halloween or Christmas, on cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line or Disney Cruise Line, you’ll be charmed by the activities and creativity of the crew. Plus you can even take cruises into the New Year… talk about the ultimate party at sea. Bonus perk: no time spent laboring over the holiday meal.





Weekend getaway
HERSHEY, PA
Yes, this sounds bizarre but this recommendation is for the people who want that theme park experience, but might be on a budget, have time constraints or you’re looking for something a little closer to home. Hershey is a great destination for winter activities. No, you won’t get that warm weather, but you will get great park deals as well as fewer crowds. Hershey Park remains open during this time with select rides available to ride and entrance is historically anywhere from $20-23. Santa visits and brings his reindeer in for the season for you to visit and feed. How cool is that? Hershey is also known for their Christmas light displays where you experience the dancing lights in the comfort of your warm car. Turn on their radio station and travel through Hershey’s very own Candy Cane Lane! It’s super cute for the young ones and well worth it.
NEW YORK CITY, NY
What a place to visit during the holidays! The city is just gorgeous once the holiday hits the town. The Rockettes, Christmas Village, The Nutcracker, Christmas markets, Rockefeller Center, and beyond… New York really shows up for the holiday. You know when you see movies of people ice skating in NYC? You can do that too! Just visit Bryant Park Winter Village. This 17,000 square foot ice skating rink features lots of activities nearby with vendors and businesses in the area. Be sure to check out Santaland at Macy’s, the New York tradition since 1902.
Day Trips
PEDDLER’S VILLAGE IN DOYLESTOWN, PA
Peddler’s Village is a cute town-like setting with quaint shops and fine dining. They feature grand illumination lighting with one million lights and an annual Gingerbread House competition and display. This place feels like a fairytale when you visit it at Christmas time. With over 60 specialty shops, from bakeries, restaurants, clothing, jewelry stores, unique food stores, this is a day trip I would tell everyone to visit at least once.
PHILADELPHIA, PA
Ohh Philadelphia. Macy parade? Check! City Hall festivities, ice skating, Philly’s own nutcracker, and Love Park village make this a Christmas-y day trip. Holiday pop-ups during the holidays are a draw for the City of Brotherly Love. If you decide to spend a weekend, I would head over to the Macy’s Christmas Light show on the first night. Every two hours there is a free performance and it is AMAZING! Macy’s has the whole second floor transformed into a village so you can relax and enjoy (and stay warm). Once you hit the city for a day two make sure to head over to City Hall. This is where the Deck the Hall Light show plays and you can skate on the ice rink. Then head over to Philadelphia Christmas Village in Love Park. With 80 wooden booths of merchants of all different varieties, there is something for everyone in this village. End your night over at the Comcast Center where you will see a super high-res LED holiday show.
Ready to start planning? Contact your Boscov’s Travel Specialist to get away for the holidays.
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

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

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

Help! I’m Planning My First Trip to Disney. Where Do I Start?

You’ve saved for a trip of a lifetime. You’ve seen all the pics of friends and family at the happiest place on earth. You’ve promised your kids you would take them and now it’s time to plan for your first trip to Disney. There are so many facets to the vacation – from the hotel to the transportation, which parks to visit and which tickets to purchase, from the meal plan to the best time of year to go – a trip to Disney can be downright overwhelming. It’s probably one of the most research intense vacations on top of the fact that it’s not inexpensive. So how do you make your first trip to Disney the perfect vacation you’ve dreamed of? With a little pixie dust and the help of a qualified Travel Professional.

Choose a qualified Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.

To be an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, an agency needs to uphold Disney brand values and keep up-to-date on the latest happenings at the Disney parks. Even though your second cousin may claim to “be a Disney expert,” we recommend that you entrust the planning of your Disney vacation to a qualified Travel Agency and Travel Professional. Be sure to look for the logo and confirm the status is up to date by checking Disney’s planner site (yep, Boscov’s Travel is proud to be an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner). It’s like getting free Disney advice from an unbiased source.

Choose which time of year is right for you.

If you have school-aged kids, going in the middle of the school year may not be the best bet. Still, these times of year (independent of fall/spring break and holidays) typically give you better access to the parks and shorter wait times. If you do have to wait till the summer or one of the busier holiday times, there’s still so much that makes Disney spectacular during the busier season.

Here’s a sampling of annual festivals and events throughout the year:

  • Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival – Early March through late May or early June
  • Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend – Late October or early November
  • Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend – Early or mid-January
  • Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend – Mid to late February
  • Star Wars Half Marathon The Dark Side – Early to Mid-April
  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – End of August through mid-November
  • Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party- Late August through early November
  • Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party – Early November through late December
  • Holidays Around the World at Epcot – Late November through late December

Budget your time and money.

Some families make a one-day stop at a single Disney park, while others spend a week at an on-site resort and make multiple visits to the parks. Talk to a Travel Specialist about your budget, “must-sees” on your list and go from there. There are so many options and combinations to get within your price range. And this year they rolled out value days giving you less expensive tickets during the off-season.

Narrow down where you want to stay.

Based on your budget and dollars allocated towards a resort, there are so many choices resorts throughout Disney (and beyond). There are benefits to staying closer to the magic – themed hotel rooms based on your child’s favorite movie, fun features including sand bottom pools, up close encounters with exotic animals, longer park access, and more. Is proximity to the magic important to you, or is access to Orlando’s other theme parks more up your alley?

Value Disney Resorts $
Disney All-Star Movies
Disney All-Star Music
Disney All-Star Sports
Disney Art of Animation
Disney Pop Century Resort
Fort Wilderness Campground

Moderate Disney Resorts $$
Disney Caribbean Beach
Disney Coronado Springs
The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
Disney Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter

Deluxe Disney Resorts $$$
Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge
Disney Beach Club Resort
Disney Board Walk Inn
Disney Contemporary Resort
Disney Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Disney Polynesian Village
Disney Wilderness Lodge
Disney Yacht Club Resort
Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel

Deluxe Disney Villas $$$$ 
Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas
Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Disney Beach Club Villas
Disney Board Walk Villas
The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Disney Old Key West Resort
Disney Polynesian Villas and Bungalows
Treehouse Villas
The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Disney’s Sarasota Springs Resort & Spa

*Options are available through Walt Disney World Good Neighbor Hotels. These are off-site hotels close to the parks that Disney approves and they offer transportation to/from the park. Some even allow pets! These range from high-end to value hotels. Choosing a WDW Good Neighbor Hotel is another way to save on the hotel and allocate more towards the park experience. 

Park Tickets

Depending on the length of your stay at Disney, you may want to experience multiple parks in a day. There’s an option for that! Disney offers different tickets based on what you want for your stay. The most cost efficient option is the Magic Your Way Base Ticket allowing you to visit one park per day from 2 to 10 days. A more flexible option is the Park Hopper option allowing you to visit multiple theme parks in the same day. The Park Hopper Plus Option allows you to visit multiple parks, plus access to Disney’s water parks, golf courses and more. Of course, we can help you navigate which option is best for you.

Dining

Disney Dining Plans allow you to pay one price per person up front so you can focus on family-time during your stay. There can be real value in pre-purchasing a dining plan (maybe you’ve heard of the infamous Chocolate Dipped Chocolate Chip Meringue from Epcot’s Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie that counts as a snack credit), but if your family is picky or light eaters it may not be for you. Luckily, our experienced Travel Specialists who have collectively handled hundreds of Disney packages can help you decide what’s right for your family.

Everything but the kitchen sink… flights, the Magical Express, Fast-Passes, dining reservations, and more.

Work with your Authorized Disney Vacation Planner to coordinate your flights and the Magical Express. If you’d prefer to depart a little closer to home and avoid the hassles of large airports, we offer an Exclusive Charter to Walt Disney World departing from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Airport in Avoca, Reading Airport, Harrisburg Airport, and Lancaster Airport throughout the spring and fall. Flights depart on Sunday morning and return Saturday evening. Still if you’re closer to a larger airport or want to stay at Disney for less than 6-nights, we can help plan your trip.

The coveted Fast-Pass allows you to get VIP privileges for your favorite rides and attractions. If you are staying at a Disney resort, you can book your Fast-Pass up to 60 days prior to your trip. If you’re staying off-site, you can book your Fast-Pass 30 days prior. Ask your Travel Specialists how you can make your Magic Band your all-in-one tool for Fast-Passes and more.

Be our guest and book your table service dining experiences before you go! Whether you want to experience the enchantment of the Beast’s castle or you want to treat yourself to the culinary magic of a James Beard nominee at Victoria & Albert, you can book your dining experiences up to 180 days ahead of your arrival.

Before you go, download the My Disney Experience app and talk to your Travel Specialist about how you can make the most of your vacation. We can help you choose PhotoPass packages, tell you where to get an inexpensive stroller for your little one, give you insider-recommendations (like downloading the Disney Parks Mobile App!), tell you what’s opening and if any attractions are under construction, give you a customized packing list, and tell you how to make the most of your dining plan (hello, Dole Whip).

So why can you trust us?

Because Walt Disney World does! We have the great pleasure of earning the distinction of Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. There are so many reasons to choose Boscov’s Travel as your Authorized Disney Vacation Planner to handle your first (and fiftieth!) trip to the most magical place on earth. We don’t charge you to plan your complete Disney vacation package. Plus our Travel Specialists have first-hand experience as well as years in the business making your Disney planning easy and successful. In fact, 94% of our Travel Specialists have been to Walt Disney World with nearly 70% visiting since 2010. Basically we love Disney as much as you do. 

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

As to Disney artwork/properties: ©Disney