My personal experience at RIU Dunamar Costa Mujeres, Mexico

Recently one of our Boscov’s Travel Advisors took a trip to Costa Mujeres, Mexico. Read her incredible experience below.

We travel to Mexico two times a year and stay at different resorts each time. We enjoy the beautiful sand, drinks, and food – it’s a great place to go! In the past some of our favorite hotels that we have stayed at are RIU Palace Costa Mujeres, Hard Rock Riveria Maya, Sun Palace and Blue Bay Esmeralda. This April 2022 we stayed at the RIU Dunamar, Costa Mujeres, and all-inclusive beachfront and kid friendly resort. We loved it!

This resort is across the bay on the mainland, just north of Cancun. The beauty is its location. This area feels calm and secluded, but is just thirty minutes away from Cancun’s bustling restaurants and nightlife. Isla Mujeres is visible from the resorts in this area.

Some of the best parts of our trips to Mexico is the all-inclusive amenities! RIU Dunamar offers four specialty dinner restaurants, a lunchtime poolside barbecue grill, six bars, including a 24-hour bar with snacks, and two swim-up bars.  I would highly recommend this resort to families because of the Splash Water Park, RIU Land Kids’ Club and poolside activities during the day which are geared towards families.

When staying in Mexico there is a lot you can do with many excursion options to choose from if you want to stray away from your resort. Every time we take our vacation, we take a day trip from our resort to explore the area. On this trip we took a three-hour snorkeling excursion that picked us up at our resort to visit a coral reef, the MUSA statues which are made of material for coral to grow on, a shipwreck and underwater cenotes. The entirety of the excursion was beautiful, fun and educational. Afterward, we visited El Meco which is a small archaeological Mayan Ruins site, which was stunning.

The Mayan Ruins have eighteen structures located off the beaten path to the North of Cancun en route to Costa Mujeres near the Puerto Juarez ferry dock. It has the tallest pyramid on the Northeast Yucatan Peninsula. From the top of the Castillo Ruins one can see the Caribbean Sea, all of Cancun’s lagoons, and Isla Mujeres. I highly recommend visiting some of the Mayan Ruins on a vacation to Mexico.

Obviously, we love vacationing in Mexico and I highly recommend going at least once. Cancun, Rivera Maya and Costa Mujeres are all great vacation spots for singles, couples and families. Since I have a wide range of knowledge on the area, and with all the lodging options and areas to stay in, it is important that I qualify my clients to fit them with the right resort for what they expect on their vacations. Your local Boscov’s Travel Advisor is ready to help you find the perfect fit for your next vacation in Mexico and beyond. Contact us today!

 

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.

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

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

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

 

A Week at the Excellence Playa Mujeres

The following post is written by Adam from the Boscov’s Travel Marketing Department.  Adam recently vacationed at the Excellence Playa Mujeres, and shares his insight into the resort and his overall travel experience booked through Boscov’s Travel.

DSCN0145.JPGAfter spending a week in Mexico two years ago, my wife and I decided to spend our yearly vacation in the land of guacamole again this year. During our previous stay in at the Secrets Silversands resort in Mexico, we enjoyed the beach but it wasn’t ideal for going into the deep waters of the Caribbean. When deciding where to go this year, the beach had to be priority. After much research, discussion and competitive “the resort I found is better than yours” banter we decided on the Excellence Playa Mujeres. And by we, I mean her.

After the flight and breezing through customs we were picked up by AMStar Tours for our private transfer to the resort. The resort was about 20 minutes from the Cancun Airport. Our guide, Carlos, did a fantastic job of providing an update of the Cancun area since our previous visit. During the drop off at the resort, he also provided his contact information in case we needed to change our pick up time or schedule any excursions we wished to take with AMStar Tours.

If you are going to an all-inclusive in Mexico, I would highly suggest using AMStar for airport transfers from the airport to the resort. They are dedicated to providing world-class services and their team is staffed by nothing less than travel professionals. And besides, when you’re stepping into a private vehicle at the airport, it makes you feel like a celebrity. Treat yo self!

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After making it through the city, we finally arrived at the Excellence Playa Mujeres. As always, it’s nice to be greeted with a cold towel and “Complimentary champagne, Sir?” Once inside, it’s always a sight to behold at how large the lobby can be at an all-inclusive resort- three floors and decorated to the nines. After checking in, we were escorted to our room right away. This year we decided to splurge a little more on our room and stayed in a Terrace Suite with Plunge Pool.

This Terrace Suite offers an expansive (807 sq. ft.) private terrace with Plunge Pool, comfortable lounge furniture and an open-air shower. If you decide to spend a vacation at this Excellence resort, stay in this suite. It was nice waking up in the morning and being able to lounge or swim when the sun was coming up. Also, my wife and I would enjoy a cocktail before going down to dinner each evening.

Excellence offers gourmet dining in ten international restaurants and eleven bars; no reservations needed. All meals, unlimited beverages, snacks, and 24/7 room service are included, plus all of the restaurants feature healthy menus and vegetarian dishes.

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We ate at a majority of the restaurants for dinner, the only ones we didn’t eat at were Basmati (Indian), Spice (Asian), and the Flavor Market (Tapas). And the only reasons why we didn’t eat at those places was because we wanted to eat at Chez Isabelle (French) and Agave (Mexican) more than once. I really believe that the menus in the restaurants at the Excellence are designed so that you are able have an appetizer, a salad, the main course, and dessert, and leave satisfied. The meals are portioned well and never disappoint.

Lunch was another experience all together. The Excellence had your standard buffet for breakfast and lunch. In addition to that, the Lobster House and the Grill offered a la carte menus for lunch. But the one we visited the most was Las Olas. Las Olas is located on the beach and has a selection of fast food, salads, wood-oven pizzas, and grilled favorites. The main course they offered was different everyday. One day we ate Seafood Paella, which was prepared in a giant wok, and another day we had Jamaican Jerk Chicken. It was fresh and served buffet style. It was by far the best place to eat lunch.

During our stay in Cancun 2 years ago, we went on a snorkeling excursion that gave us the opportunity to swim with sea turtles. This excursion is no longer available because the sea turtles habitats are now protected, which is a great because it helps the species from becoming extinct. So this year we decided to buy our own snorkeling gear and bring it with us.

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The beach at the Excellence provided more than enough space and ocean for us to explore the waters. We snorkeled at least twice a day and saw Bluefin Trevally, Starfish, Batfish, Sea Turtles, and a Manta Ray. Because of our decision to buy snorkeling gear, we decided we didn’t need to leave the resort to experience an excursion. We also took advantage of the free water sports offered by the resort and took the Stand Up Paddle Boards into the Caribbean a handful of times.

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Overall, our stay at the Excellence Playa Mujeres was by far the best vacation at an all-inclusive we have ever had. The service of the staff, the accommodations, the food, and the overall experience exceeded our expectations and was nothing short of amazing.

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

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.

Rediscovering my love of cruising aboard the Norwegian Breakaway

The following post is written by Wendy, a member of the Boscov’s Travel Corporate Team.  Wendy recently sailed on the Breakaway, a Norwegian Cruise Line ship, as part of a FAM. In the travel industry, FAM trips – better known as familiarization trips – help travel agents learn what’s available for their clients in destinations across the globe. Wendy traveled on the FAM in October 2016. 

Norwegian Cruise Line had invited myself and other members of the Boscov’s Travel family on a 7-Day FAM trip aboard Norwegian Breakaway. For me these trips are a real joy and it had been a number of years since my last cruise, so needless to say I was excited. One of the beautiful things about a familiarization trip on a cruise ship is that travel specialists can experience, well, everything!

img_3715For our Bermuda cruise, we departed from the New York City pier. Boscov’s Travel offers transfers for select cruises to this pier from local Boscov’s in Reading, Camp Hill, Lancaster, and Easton. Our group took one of these transfers aboard a luxury bus from Reading, PA to the cruise terminal. Having cruised before I was quite familiar with the procedures of boarding a cruise ship. I’ll admit, I was blown away by how much more smoothly and streamlined Norwegian has made the boarding process. We were moved along quickly, porters took our luggage, and the staff was polite and friendly. All in all the experience was hassle and headache free.

Unfortunately, the weather was not going to cooperate. Hurricane Matthew threw a wrench in the works. Instead of sailing to Bermuda as planned, our itinerary was changed to Port Canaveral, Florida and Nassau, Bahamas. Seeing as we were on a FAM trip to learn about the ship, this didn’t deter us at all from enjoying everything the Norwegian Breakaway had to offer.

Our first stop was Port Canaveral, Florida. Despite being a little overcast, we decided to check out Cocoa beach. After an enjoyable bus trip to the beach, we felt like we had the beach to ourselves. It wasn’t as crowded as I thought and the weather helped play a small part in that. There are surf shops in the area and made for a nice break in between relaxation sessions on the beach.

The second port we experienced was Nassau, Bahamas. We spent two hours in Nassau at the Straw Market. It was great experience to be able to see hand-made art and local delicacies. According to the locals, the sunset in Nassau is a must-see and we decided to catch it from the Breakaway. And to be honest, the locals were right… was breathtaking.

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The food on the Breakaway was something to behold. We had the chance to experience the Brazilian style Moderno and the Italian style La Cucina specialty dining restaurants during our trip. And if you have the chance, I highly recommend eating at both. At Moderno, your mouth will water as different grilled and slow-roasted meats are carved tableside. At La Cucina, they take classic Italian dishes and put a fresh twist to create something unbelievable.

The rest of the time, we enjoyed the Garden Café Buffet. The buffet style of cooking on a cruise ship has come a long way since the last time I experienced it. Everything tasted as if it had been cooked especially for us. The taste, freshness, and options available were delicious. They also incorporated themes everyday with options ranging from Chinese one day to Western the next, then seafood after that. There were also made-to-order dishes available upon request.

One of our Boscov’s Travel team members is gluten intolerant. One of the best great things about Norwegian’s food options is that they can make anything gluten-free. The staff was very accommodating and understanding of any and all dietary restrictions. During the day, you can go to any of the restaurants and place an order for your dinner that night with your restrictions. When you arrive later that night, your food will be made to your specifications.

The nightlife experiences aboard the Breakaway transformed the ship into the hottest spot at sea. At H2O, every night was a different theme. One night it was a 70’s disco night and the next was an 80’s new wave night. During the day, cruisers could attend a flash mob class and that night everyone would perform the routine they learned that day. We had the chance to experience a flash mob and see everyone perform the dance routine from Michael Jackson’s Thriller music video.

img_3492Entertainment rocked the ship throughout our 7-days. Rock of Ages and Burn the Floor are two of the on board shows you shouldn’t miss. The cast of Rock the Ages was friendly and entertaining and managed to really involve the audience in the show. Even though the 45-minute dance routines from the foxtrot to the salsa of Burn the Floor is not my cup of tea, it was an amazing performance to watch.

Despite Hurricane Matthew changing our entire itinerary, it did not stop us from enjoying everything Norwegian Cruise Line had to offer! If you have the chance to get aboard this floating palace of entertainment, food, and fun; I would highly recommend that you do so. Norwegian’s really taken things to a whole new level with this ship and it shows; from the accommodating staff to every minor detail on the ship. The Breakaway is truly a cruisers dream ship.

If you’re ready to learn more about cruising, email travelrequest@boscovs.com, DM Boscov’s Travel on Facebook, or call 800-755-8020. Be sure to ask about specials!

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.

America’s Last Great Frontier; Exploring Everything Alaska Has to Offer

The following post is written by Boscov’s Travel Specialist Jennifer from our Camp Hill branch. Jennifer recently traveled to Alaska along with Colonial Park Travel Specialist Amy, on an educational trip to experience tours and options that our clients can enjoy while experiencing America’s Last Great Frontier. 

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We experienced a whirlwind 6 nights in Alaska that felt like twice that. It never gets really dark even when the sun sets around 11pm and is back up at 4am. Nineteen hours of daylight feels like 2 days, especially when you are trying to see all that your clients may want to see in a fraction of the time. As travel specialists we tried to take in everything that the tours and hotels had to offer. Next time we will return as vacationers.

It’s hard for me to describe but Alaska is young in many ways. Not to discount the native cultures which are a big part of the history, peoples and culture but it’s statehood is less than 60 years old. Even the Russian influences are ‘new’ compared to the ancient cultures. The buildings are new, the corporations and governments are new, the ‘Alaskans’ are new. In a world of travel we often sell the ‘old’….go see ruins in Mexico, the cathedrals in Europe, historical colonial places from our US history, but how often do we seek out the new? We seek the modern in some places but Alaska is different…

According to the locals, to be ‘Alaskan’ is to live in Alaska for a winter. If you live through the season and stay, then you are an Alaskan and these transplants account for a significant part of the (750,000) population. When you realize that Alaska is more than twice the size of Texas that number seems, well, tiny. But I have digressed into my ‘factoid-ness’.

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The natural landscape of Alaska is clearly very very old. Sculpted by glaciers and home of the highest point in North America, its vistas are breathtaking. When we arrived at 11:30 pm in Anchorage my heart was delighted to see majestic mountains in the twilight. We stayed our first night at the Lakefront Anchorage, which is close to the airport and very convenient. We also woke to see planes taking off and landing right from the lake – a primary method of transportation for the locals in the deepest regions Alaska.

We stayed a second night at the Marriott in downtown Anchorage and proceeded to explore the city. We checked out the “Saturday Market”… on Sunday. It was full of delicious locally made foods, crafts and even entertainment. I had a lemongrass halibut taco that just had me fearing the trip had peaked at that point. Yes, it was that good. We walked some more and found ourselves eating at Snow City Café for a delicious second lunch (or first lunch for my colleague).

We walked a bit of Tony Knowles Coastal Trail and came back through residential areas and Delaney Park. We met up with some of the folks we would be with on the tour and our dedicated tour guide, Jared, that we would be traveling with for the next 6 days. With Royal Caribbean Cruise Tours you will always have a dedicated tour guide for the land tour. We headed for dinner at Sacks. This was a tasty, fancy little establishment. This was just a fraction of the delicious food that Anchorage has to offer. If you happen to find yourself with some free time in Anchorage I highly recommend doing a food tour.

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We were off to Seward! A quick stop at the Chugach State Park Bird Point Trailhead for a short break and a photo opportunity and then another at Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. These are great ways to break up the drive and briefly see what Royal Caribbean can offer to our clients. On to the Kenai Fjords Cruise we saw orcas, humpback whales, sea lions, otters, puffins, eagles, porpoises, cormorants, and even at a great distance a goat. We had lunch at Fox Island (delicious) and again just breathtaking views. I feel like we had a day like no other. Alaska is a raw place and sometimes the weather isn’t the sunny clear day we had, but it is a place where the unexpected can surprise and amaze you. We ended the day at the Alaska Sea Life center… I could have spent much longer here learning and observing and even interacting with the animals and caretakers.

Lots of options for food are available in Seward as well. We had a delicious dinner at Ray’s. Let me tell you how important food and beverage is to me – VERY! We watched otters out the window into the marina while we dined. The Alaskan brews are so good too. I love to eat and drink local and Alaska is just sumptuous!

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The next day we were back to Anchorage and the Native Heritage Center with a brief stop in Alyeska, an adorable place just above the quaint town of Girdwood. Alyeska is only seen on the tours that focus on the mountains and the longer tours but from this vantage point you can see some spectacular mountain views. Again, we just didn’t have enough time because we were getting the abbreviated version.

It’s hard to believe that very shortly we would be in Talkeetna. This was the town I was most excited to see… if you are old enough to remember the show “Northern Exposure” about a doctor from NYC that finds himself practicing medicine in a quirky small Alaskan town, well, this is where the idea was born. It’s been about 20 years since this show first aired so I assumed it would be large and commercial now. It’s NOT and I loved this place. It’s a gathering place for climbers before and after their treks to ascend Denali (Mt. McKinley) and while we were there, there were many an unhappy climber because ascent hadn’t been possible in the last few weeks due to weather. Locals singing karaoke, climbers drowning their lament and a dog walking around town (in and out of places of business) made this town charming.

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Talkeetna was also special because we signed up to do a glacier landing on a small plane. Are there any people out there who aren’t afraid of small aircraft? This was no exception. But we had been told, by numerous accounts, that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity and it was not to be missed, so we signed up, butterflies and all. I know I’m not a gifted enough writer to describe this but I will use a few words to try – powerful, spiritual, humbling. When that plane set down on the glacier we were so close to something so large and grand, something that from the distance was awesome and powerful and up close was even more so. We were so small and it was so grand. It brought tears for many of us. It was spiritual.

We would eventually re-board taking off from the glacier to see a little more and have an up close view of Denali. It was amazing to see a huge avalanche (even the pilot was impressed and circled back around), and the base camp for climbers. That base camp was the first perspective I had at the size of everything. Tents on the snow at the base of mountain were like ants….I just couldn’t fathom the massiveness of this. No regrets on this excursion. I will do this again and hopefully share it with my children and husband.

Our time in Talkeetna was all too short. The next day we were to board the Wilderness Express glass domed train for Denali National Park. This was quite a luxurious experience and really enables you to see so much including a view of those living off the grid. I know there are a lot of TV shows out there to teach us about Alaska but they don’t do the ‘real’ Alaska justice, they just scrape the surface.

Denali was our smallest snapshot of what’s included on these tours. Every land tour with Royal Caribbean includes Denali and we only saw a hint in the hour that we had. This just means every last one of us who was on this trip will come back.

That evening it was back to options and my colleague Amy and I did different things. She took to the river and did Whitewater rafting in the Nenana. Quite a few did this tour and everyone loved it. It was cold and a little wet but they supplied equipment to keep you dry! I went to the Husky Homestead to hear four time Iditarod champion Jeff King talk about his life and adventures, and I got to snuggle puppies and see some gleefully mush, even without snow. Aside from enjoying each of our very different adventures, we also once again were captivated by the Alaskan people that we would meet.

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Again our time was too short and morning came too soon as we ventured off to Fairbanks. I had the least expectation of this city, which is probably why it surprised me so much. It has a quirky untouched feel but is still modern and artsy. We headed up to Gold Dredge #8 where we panned for gold (and all got some), learned about the mining industry and how it established Fairbanks, about the pipeline and some musical entertainment with a train ride because – why not! We did the Alaska Salmon Bake (they make food taste so good served in large quantities!) and Palace Theater Show (a fun way to learn the modern history of this place).

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Our last day we enjoyed the Riverboat Discovery before heading to the airport. This was on the Chena river and we had the chance to see the Chena Indian Village, Susan Butcher’s huskies (another 4 time winner), a float plane land and take off right beside the river boat, and plenty of stories too! I think when I go back I’d like to start in Fairbanks.

This trip was an educational opportunity but it lit a passion for Alaska in me. Knowledge is a key to explaining but feeling unlocks something else and I know anyone I send to Alaska won’t be able to come home without having these feelings. There is so much of the history and narration that we were given by our dedicated tour guide that made everything not only informative, but interesting and fun.

If you’re ready to book your Alaskan adventure, email travelrequest@boscovs.com, call 800-755-8020 or direct message us.

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.