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Disney Vacations Beyond The Theme Parks Media Event

When most people think of the Walt Disney Company and travel, they picture the Disney Parks. That is just one aspect of what Disney does. On Wednesday, January 17, 2018, I was given the opportunity to learn about some of the other ways that Disney can help you to make memories that will last a lifetime.

The event was held in the Living Seas VIP Lounge at Epcot. It’s an area that is off limits to the general public, and a space that many of us who attended had never been in before. It’s a great area, with an underwater feel like you experience in elsewhere in The Living Seas.

The presentation started with a Hula dance, much like guests at Aulani in Hawaii might see. We were then greeted by Yolanda Cade, who is Domestic Public Relations Director at Walt Disney World Resort. She told us how Disney strives to create “magical vacation experiences”, not only in Central Florida and California, but around the world. She explained that with Disney Vacation Club, there are over 500 destinations worldwide where guests can travel.

Cade then talked about Aulani, which is one of the most popular DVC destinations. She said that Disney wants everything at the resort to be as authentic as possible, they even have employed a cultural adviser. The luau at Aulani includes Hula dancing, a fire breather, storytelling, and more. She said that the food is part of the luau experience, and that there is a smaller buffet for the children so that they can pick their favorites. Another exciting aspect of Aulani is that Moana can be found there. She holds meet and greets, but she also might show up during storytelling or another special experience.

 

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Next to speak was Carrie Maston, who is Marketing Director for Disney Cruise Line. She reminded everyone that three new ships are on the way, in 2021, 2022, and 2023. She said that there are many more exciting things that are happening before then. She talked about the success of the Marvel Day at Sea, which is being offered eight different times in 2018. It features characters, a stunt show at night, and special surprises. Another successful theme has been Star Wars Day at Sea, which takes place on select cruises from Port Canaveral. These days feature extra characters, Jedi Training for the kids, and a deck party in the evening.

Another thing that Maston mentioned was the live shows on the Disney cruises. Recently a live Beauty and the Beast show debuted on the Disney Dream, and the Broadway quality show is receiving rave reviews. Talk about the Disney Magic was also part of the presentation. It is going to be heading to dry dock soon for enhancements. One enhancement that is particularly exciting will be called Rapunzel’s Royal Table. There will also be an upgrade to the teens only club.

Maston reminded everyone that part of the fun of cruising is the water slides and the water roller coasters. Dining is also an important part of the experience. Room service is available 24 hours a day, the food in the main dining areas is fantastic, and there are even adult only experiences available. She also talked about Castaway Cay, the private island in the Bahamas that is owned by Disney.

The third speaker was Ken Potrock, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Disney Vacation Club and Adventures by Disney. He began by talking about Copper Creek, which is the newest Disney Vacation Club property. He also mentioned that work has started on Disney Riviera Resort, which will be the 15th DVC property. He reminded everyone that you do not need to be a Disney Vacation Club member in order to stay in one of the properties. You can book them the same way you would book any other room on property.

Potrock then moved on to Adventures by Disney. He explained that 35 itineraries are available on six different continents. Adventures by Disney offers group travel, which helps to alleviate some of the worries about travel such as language barriers and transportation. He then explained that there are several different platforms for Adventures by Disney. They offer domestic trips, international trips, exotic trips, and long weekends. He then said that the newest platform is River Cruising. Currently vacations are offered on the Rhine and Danube Rivers. He then announced that the River Cruising options will soon include a Seine River Cruise. That will last for ten days. Eight of the days will be cruising and the other two days will be spent in Paris.

Another announcement was made by Potrock moments later. He said that soon Adventures by Disney will offer the Southern California Adventure. That will include time in the Disneyland parks, but also will hit iconic Disney locations that are located in the region.

Yolanda Cade returned, and we were reminded that it is “never too soon to start planning”. We were treated to another dance, and had a chance to sample some of the treats offered during the various travel experiences. Captain Mickey also came out to say hello. It was a great learning experience, and I would like to thank all those involved for letting me be a part of it.

About PaulaK

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.