About annayott

I'm a Travel Planner with Dream Come True Vacations!

Cruising down the Mekong

ItineraryI am so excited to soon be leaving for an 11-day adventure through beautiful Vietnam and Cambodia!  I feel like it is such an amazing opportunity to be able to and I can’t wait to get started.  For the beginning and end of our trip will be on our own sandwiched with a 7-day cruise down the Mekong River with AMAWaterways.  Here’s a rundown of whats to come:

Days 1-4:  Arrive in Siem Reap, Cambodia for a stay at the gorgeous Sofitel Royal Angkor.  There’s plenty of time to get over the jet lag and then head to the amazing temples of Angkor Wat, including a look at Ta Prohm, and the Bayon Temple.  I really have my fingers crossed for an elephant ride as well!  We will also be spending this time in Siem Reap during the Cambodian (Khmer) New Year’s celebration which is typically celebrated for three days, can’t wait to see how it’s done! From there we transfer to our beautiful AMAWaterways ship and pass through local fishing villages as we depart for Kampong Chhang 

Ankgor Wat

Day 5:  Board a local boat and tour the floating villages in Kampong Chhang.  From there we take an oxcart ride and tour the pagoda pf Wat Kapong Tralach Pleu, also get the chance to tour a Buddhist Monastery and perhaps even receive a special blessing. Bonus highlight!

Day 6:  A visit to the silk weaving village of Chong Koh and then set sail for the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh.

Day 7:  Today will be spent touring the Phnom Penh which is known for its French colonial architecture , busy cafes, and vibrant nightlife.  Also a visit to the spectacular Silver Pagoda and National Museum.  The afternoon will include a somber visit to the Killing Fields and the Khmer Rouge’s S21 Detention Center.

Silver Pagoda

Day 8:  Crossing the border into Vietnam – a.k.a. a day of relaxing and recouping on the ship!

Day 9:  Hop aboard small boats to a floating fish farm and navigate the small villages filled with stilt houses.  From there take a trishaw to Tan Chau to visit a rattan mat-making and slippers workshop.  Afterwards off to enjoy a Mekong folklore performance.

Day 10:  A visit to the town of Sa Dec to see famous French writer Marguerite Daras childhood home.  Then a visit to the French military base of Xeo Quyt and a tour of a French Gothic Cathedral.  The day ends with a rice paper workshop and a candy making workshop.  Yum!

Elephant

Day 11:  Say goodbye to the ship and head to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) where we get to spend our remaining hours touring the city and perhaps the Vietnam War Memorial and Museum.  Then it’s time to say Au Revoir to Southeast Asia!

I can’t wait to meet the amazing people of both these countries and experience their culture… and the food!  Until next time….

(Photos courtesy of AMAWaterways)

Disney World Summer Offer 2013

Monsterous Savings!Just in time for that summer getaway!  You can save up to 30% on rooms at select Walt Disney World® Resort hotels this summer. Add minimum 4-Day Magic Your Way Tickets to make it a package and get a discount on the tickets too!

Disney Value and Moderate Resorts

For stays most nights June 13 – Aug. 14, 2013:

  • Save up to 20% at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Cabins
  • Save up to 15% at Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort, Disney’s All-Star Music Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – Family Suites

Disney Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts

For stays most nights June 13 – Aug. 14, 2013:

  • Save up to 30% at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts, Disney’s Beach Club Resort Villas, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn & Villas, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (standard view rooms), Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, Disney’s Old Key West Resort and Disney’s Contemporary Resort (including Bay Lake Towers)
  • Save up to 20% at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort (including Villas)

Add minimum 4-Day Magic Your Way Tickets to make it a package and get a discount on the tickets too!

Book by June 14, 2013!

Contact me for more information on this offer at Anna@DreamComeTrueVacations.com or at 1-888-MICKEY8 ext. 702.

Be Our Guest Restaurant Review

Having recently returned from the new Fantasyland we had the pleasure of dining at Be Our Guest for Dinner.  This reservation was a tough one to get our hands on but was well worth the effort and I can easily say it is now the BEST Table Service option within the Magic Kingdom!  The restaurant is also transformed into a Quick Service dining option during lunch but we did not get the chance to try it out.

Beast's Castle

Upon arriving at Be Our Guest I was immediately pleased at how immersive the experience is.  You must first cross the bridge with the Beasts Castle looming overhead and gargoyles guarding along your way.  You are taken into the main lobby area when your table is ready and from there will be seated in either the West Wing, the Ballroom, or the Rose Gallery.   For our visit we were seated in the Ballroom and I was truly astonished with how massive and breathtaking this space was!  The Imaginears did an amazing job of duplicating the Beast’s Ballroom from the movie.  Every detail, the painted murals on the ceiling, the sparkling chandeliers, the tiled floors, and even the snow falling from the balcony window outside.

Ballroom

The tables were lit romantically and each table setting had a beautiful napkin arranged in the shape of a rose.  This would be a great place to celebrate an anniversary or special occasion!  As it was I had a table with a 4 and 6 year old, who were eyeing the dessert cart parked next to us.

IMG_0667[1]

For Dinner I, and many others ordered the Pan Seared Salmon on Leek Fondue, two others ordered the Grilled Strip Steak with Garlic Butter Spread and Pommes Frites.  Those who ordered the Salmon all agreed that this dish was a knockout!  It was cooked to perfection and the leek fondue with Saffron potatoes was amazing.  I can easily say that this was the best meal I had during our entire trip, I’m still dreaming about that Salmon!  There were conflicting reports on the Strip Steak though.  One said that it was cooked perfectly and the other said it was a bit tough and gristly.

 

The kids ordered the Grilled Steak and the Whole-Grain Macaroni.  The steak was a winner and both brother and sister helped out with that.  The macaroni was not a hit, but it had been a long day and neither of the kids were very hungry. Well, at least until the dessert cart pulled up!  Each table is served by a dessert cart that is filled with a selection of assorted cupcakes and crème puffs.  I am not a big crème puff or cupcake girl so I wasn’t too excited for the options however they did a great job on all of the choices in the cart.  Each crème puff was filled to the brim with passion fruit, lemon meringue, or chocolate crème.  And our strawberry cupcakes had some of the ripest and freshest strawberries I‘ve had in a long time.  Most of us took our desserts to go since dinner was so delicious. Which we then got out to snack on while watching Wishes!

Watch out for these guys, you might hear some whispering!

Halfway through the meal the Beast walked through all of the dining rooms and announced that he would be in the library available for a meet and greet once you had finished your meal.  I don’t know if this is a limited time opportunity but I hope the restaurant keeps this around!  It was a quick and easy way to get some great pictures with a character and the kids all loved it.

 

Overall I give this restaurant a 10 out of 10.  The atmosphere was amazing and the majority of us were really pleased with our food with most of us agreeing it was the best meal of the trip.  So next time you are in the World make sure to make some ADRs for Be Our Guest!

Tis the Season – Stocking Giveaway!

Tis the Season for giving, and for putting up your Christmas decorations! I have three very cute Toy Story Stockings that I want to give to YOU!

To enter, just answer the following question in the Comments section of this post:

 “What’s your favorite holiday decoration you put out every year?”

Just shout out your favorite decoration in the Comments section of this post and you’re automatically entered to win one of the stockings!

Winners will be announced Friday.

Costa Maya Best Port-of-Call Ever!

This past month I was sailing on the Disney Magic for a Western Caribbean Cruise.  I was super excited for this trip as it was my first time on the Magic (one of Disney Cruise Line’s original ships) and my first time sailing the Western Caribbean area.  Our cruise included stops at Grand Cayman, Costa Maya, and Cozumel.  We had a spectacular time at all the ports we stopped at but Costa Maya really stood out in my mind and quickly became my favorite port-of-call!

We only had around 4 hours to spend in Costa Maya and I knew we had to make good use of our time while we were there.  We were lined up to deboard the ship early in the morning and had the honor of being one of the first off.  As soon as we entered the main port/shopping area I was pleasantly surprised.  We were greeted by traditional dancers and music as well as many other hosts welcoming us to the area.  I found the port area to be very clean, well kept, and all the people we met were very gracious and welcoming. In recent years, the Costa Maya area has been devastated by one hurricane after another and the port itself has just reopened after rebuilding from the last natural disaster.  The Costa maya area itself is incredibly small, and other than the main port and shopping area there is not much to see, I preferred this though as it really gives you more of an intimate experience and gives you a feel for the natural landscape and culture of the local people.

I could have easy spent the entire day enjoying the main port area; it had a small but lovely beach, Dolphinarium, shopping, dining, and a little swimming area outside of Senor Frogs.  However we had to hurry out to our excursion to see the Chacchobean Mayan Ruins with Native Choice.  Native Choice was AMAZING!  They provided us with bottled water throughout our trip and even followed us around with umbrellas in case you get a little too hot.  Most importantly though was how knowledgeable our tour guide was.  He actually grew up living on the ruins, he was able to tell us very personal stories about the area and what life was like growing up there.  In addition he taught us about the native plants and what they can be used for and even picked up a few artifacts laying about during the tour!

We spent about 2 hours at the ruins and it truly was an amazing experience.  We learned a lot about the Mayan Culture and really got to view some gorgeous structures.  The ride out to the ruins is about an hour long so once we returned to port we did not have much time to spend until we needed to get back on the ship.  This was one place I would have loved to have more time to be able to explore.  I would highly recommend stopping in Costa Maya on your next cruise and I can’t wait to return!

Two New Winter 2013 Disney World Offers!

With the new Fantasyland opening this December, the addition of Splitsville to Downtown Disney, and a newly revamped Test Track opening, NOW is the time to plan your Winter getaway to Disney World!

Disney just released two great new offers for travel from January 2 – March 7, 2013.  First is a room only offer, you can save up to 35% off your resort room, this offer is especially beneficial for those staying in a Deluxe Resort room.  The second offer is a Play, Stay and Dine, purchase a 5-night stay with tickets and dining package and save up to $600 on your trip total!  Both of these offers must be booked by December 31, 2012.

Contact me for more info on these Winter offers and we can look at which one will give your family the biggest savings and the most fun!

Kids Sail FREE on Galveston Cruises!

Yee-Haw!  Kids ages 17 and under can now sail FREE on select 6-night and 8-night Disney Cruise Line sailings from Galveston.  This offer is available for most sail dates from January 4th – March 1st, 2013.

With the new 8-night Bahamian itinerary sailing from Galveston, you can visit the Walt Disney World Resort and Disney’s own private island paradise, Castaway Cay. Included in the cruise fare on this itinerary is a 1-Day Ticket with Park Hopper Option for each Guest and complimentary round-trip transportation between the ship and the Resort. Also available are exciting 6- and 8-night Western Caribbean cruises with scheduled stops in Grand Cayman and Cozumel.

Winter is the perfect time to escape those cold temperatures so contact me for more details on this great offer!

 

I’m Leaving on an EarPlane…

For most of my life flying was something I dreaded, my ears always had difficulty popping on the flight and most trips ended with me feeling quite cruddy. Then, a few years someone had suggested I try EarPlanes, and let me tell you, this was a game changer for me!  I won’t fly without them anymore, I don’t experience any more in-flight discomfort and regardless of how many stops my flight makes I arrive at my destination with the ability to hear, am pain free, and ready to go!

 

EarPlanes essentially act as a pressure regulator within your ear.  It looks very similar to a regular ear plug but has small rings within it that help to adjust the pressure within your ear and allow air to flow in and out.

I recommend EarPlanes to anyone who has sensitive ears, or those who are flying with a cold or sinus condition.  You can purchase EarPlanes at most pharmacies and other large retailers like Target or Wal-Mart.  EarPlanes also come in adult and child sizes which can be a real lifesaver when it comes to your kids delicate little ears!

I personally can’t imagine flying without them, I can now fly pain free and relax during the flight.  The best part is that they also help to block some sound and noise (so naps are a little easier to come by).

Note:  I am not endorsed by EarPlanes, this is just my opinion and I love em!

EPCOT Illuminations Dessert Party

An EPCOT Illuminations Dessert Party was something that was always on my Disney bucket list, but was certainly something I didn’t plan to be able to experience anytime soon. So when I was invited to a Dessert Party during our Dream Come True Agents conference I was VERY excited!!

An Illuminations Dessert Party generally gives the host their option of a private fireworks viewing location, (which you pre-arrange) and a variety of desserts for your guests to enjoy. We were originally scheduled to hold our party outside the Italy Pavilion in the World Showcase, this is a great place to view Illuminations, however due to heavy storms our party was relocated to the interior of Norway’s Maelstrom ride. I personally was super excited that the party location got moved because I love any chance to get to see the behind-the-scenes action (especially in one of my favorite “countries”!)

Our party/meeting space was much larger than I anticipated, who knew there was that much space right next to the Maelstrom? The design of the room was plain overall but there were some fun Norwegian style artifacts and art hanging on the wall so that you didn’t quite forget where you were.

We had a large choice of desserts, including a build-your-own ice cream sundae bar, brownies, cookies, cupcakes, and candy sprinkled throughout. There was a large selection of drinks as well, pop, water, punch, coffee, tea, and pretty much every flavoring or addition (hello whipped cream) you could ever want.

After eating our fair share of Dessert we were all escorted out to the front of the Norway pavilion were we had a roped-off section waiting for fireworks viewing. This was by far the highlight of the night as I don’t have much patience sitting out and waiting for a spot to see shows or fireworks, but I could get used to this kind of treatment! The fireworks were fantastic as always and I felt extra blessed to be sharing such a cool experience with so many new friends. I can’t wait to see what the next item is to check off my bucket list!