Discovery Cove’s Sea Venture

While enjoying our day at Discovery Cove, our entire family participated in the Sea Venture experience.  My mother had a similar experience on a cruise excursion and said it was a unique experience that we shouldn’t miss.  I wasn’t nervous about it at all until I saw the safety video and signed the papers – they kept saying how important it was to breath normally, made us all wonder why we wouldn’t breath normally.  I kept telling myself that it is only 20 minutes and there are quite a few divers there to make sure everything is fine.

The experience is in the Grand Reef, the same waterway where you can snorkel all day long.  You are required to wear a wet suit for this experience so we got our wet suits when we were passing by the area after our 1st lunch.  In August these can be a bit hot so we just tried them on and then left them 1/2 way down until we checked in.

We purchased an underwater camera safe up to 65 feet for our trip (review to come) but if you do not have an underwater camera, Discovery Cove will loan you one and allow you to purchase the pictures after your experience.

Only 9 people are in each group and your group time is scheduled as you arrive to Discovery Cove in the morning.  Note: If you are in the water when there is bad weather, they will take you out and then let you complete your experience after the weather has passed.

The helmet is heavy but you don’t notice it under the water.  All of us felt differently about the helmet.  Of course, it is necessary to have the air to breathe and to keep the water out of the helmet but it is loud and a very unique experience.  I had to belch every few minutes to alleviate a tightness in my chest, my husband felt the need to take a deep breath every few minutes and the kids didn’t have either of those problems.  My daughters both had pony tails and they both advise a low pony tail for the experience.

The helmet has a weird shape.  If you are looking forward you can see very well.  But, you can also see some things in your peripheral vision – so you naturally turn toward it.  Nope, can’t see it until you turn your entire body.  You have to turn your entire body to see the person beside you.   Along with the slow movement, this was a little strange.

There are divers leading you around while you are under the water.  They taught us all some signals before we walked down the ladder and they used them to make sure we were all ok.  They also used an erasable writing pad to tell us information about what we were seeing.  They even took lots of pictures on our camera for us.

We were able to hold several underwater animals and the divers fed the fish while we were all standing there under the water.  The fish were all around us – if you are a little bit claustrophobic or “fish” phobic, you will have a problem with this because there are lots fish and they are very close to you.  The large ray even swam by us while we were underwater.


This experience is an add-on and begins at $49 (price depends upon the day you attend).  I know that if you are able to participate in something like this event as a Cruise Excursion, it will cost more.

All 5 of us felt like this was a great addition to the day (even my teenager who paid for this part himself) and we recommend that you add this to your day at Discovery Cove.

I just ordered a key-chain diver’s helmet to use for this year’s Christmas Ornament — family tradition to get a new ornament from our vacation each year.  I will put the link at the bottom of the post so you can see it — it looks super cute.

Please call us or click the link to Discovery Cove on our website to schedule your day (we receive a small referral commission at no extra cost to you which will  help pay our website costs).  If you are not a Florida Resident, please do not reserve your space at those rates but click to the regular page as Discovery Cove requires your Driver’s license or State ID when you enter.


Discover Discovery Cove

I have wanted to go to Discovery Cove since it opened and it FINALLY happened!  Our family spent the day in paradise.  Before purchasing our tickets, we discussed the different packages and the availability of private cabanas as a family and we decided that this is probably a once-in-a-lifetime event.  We decided to splurge and purchase the Elite package (more on packages in a different post) which includes a private cabana.

A friend told me to “arrive when it opens and stay until they put you out” – she was right!.  Although the waterways do not open until 8:30, breakfast is served early and the doors open at 7:15 am.  We arrived in the parking lot by 7:30 am and the line to enter was very long, we must have been one of the last people to arrive since the line was not very long behind us.  We stood in line for about 30 minutes but it was always moving and the foliage was beautiful.  Although the park was almost full to capacity, it was the only line we stood in all day long.

An excellent variety of good food was available for breakfast.  The empty coffee

Continue reading Discover Discovery Cove

Sloth coloring book for adults: (Animal Coloring Books for Adults)

List Price: $6.99 USD
New From: $6.99 USD In Stock

Bar Harbor Maine

A client is traveling on a Fall Foliage cruise in late September.  She asked me about some of the excursions and as I was reviewing the options and began researching Bar Harbor, some stunning photos appeared on my computer screen.

All of these fantastic pictures have made me want to pack my bag and join them on this cruise – and this is only the First stop!

I called the Chamber of Commerce and they sent me some great photos to share with you.

Most of the information I found was from the Arcadia National Forest so I jumped over to YouTube and found a videos from the National Parks Service as well:

I am adding Maine to my list – what about you?




Credit Cards / Debit Cards when traveling

Do not forget to notify your credit card company when you are traveling.  It would be unfortunate if your card was flagged for possible fraud and you were out of town or even out of the country.  Bring 2 cards with you for this very reason.

Debit Cards – use at ATMs to get local currency, conversion rates for the day’s activity are used.  Make sure you know if there are any fees.

Credit Cards – Companies do not have to use the current day’s exchange rate and you may pay a higher exchange rate than you anticipated.  Also, some companies charge a fee for this service.

When looking for a travel card, look at your local credit unions.  Our local credit union does not charge a currency exchange fee.  Also, the Visa Check Card can act as either a debit card or a credit card.  If you don’t already have an account at a credit union, open one and use it just for travel.  Our local credit union can now print your Debit Card on-site.  Since Credit Unions are actually owned by the users, they usually do not have fees or have much lower fees.

When you are traveling or when you are at home, it has become more important to protect your credit and debit cards.  I see videos all the time on how credit card information is stolen.  I purchased some RFID blockers before my last trip (from amazon).  The package was so big that I shared with my family and everyone has their cards in them all the time.

Epcot – Test Track

It has been a long time since I rode Test Track because we are line snobs and refuse to wait more than 30 minutes in a line but this visit we were able to get Fast Passes !!

Once again, in true Disney fashion, the wait is fun!  You get to create your own car for the test.  We started off creating a beautiful car and then we noticed that it had ratings on the top so we began paying attention to the ratings.  Then we noticed the countdown and had to hurry to complete the car.  Your magic band remembers your car.

While you are on the ride, signs show the car rankings.  Ours didn’t show because I didn’t press my magic band to the scanner at the correct time, instead I was moving out of the way so a man could take a picture of his wife on the ride.

Here is a ‘hidden’ gem.  Don’t just leave after the ride, more fun stuff awaits!

After you get off the ride, you have the opportunity to create a commercial using your car and it is emailed to you.  Here is the link to our commercial – warning, the car is not beautiful!

After you leave that area, you can take pictures on cars and virtual cars – once again having them emailed to you.  Taking a picture with a virtual car is not easy.  Taking a picture with a real car is so much easier but still not easy!

Disney’s new Epcot Festival of the Arts — The Workshops & Seminars

This new festival celebrates the Arts and has both paid and complementary workshops.  I attended two complementary workshops – one on Henna and one on Photography.

Although the workshops are complementary, there are a limited number of tickets.  We arrived about 45 minutes early to get our tickets and had no problems getting a ticket but it was a Monday and they had waiting areas for tickets setup so it could have been more crowded over the weekend.

Both workshops were run by Disney employees who had worked with Disney for quite awhile and were very knowledgeable about their areas.  Both workshops were informative and entertaining and worth the time to attend.

Check out the remaining workshops for this festival here:

Disney’s new Epcot Festival of the Arts — The Food

Disney has a new Festival — Festival of the Arts.  It seems like they are always trying something new to get us to spend our day (and money) at Epcot!  This festival takes place Friday-Monday until February 20th.

This festival isn’t quite as large as the Food and Wine Festival but it is still fun.

Neopolitan — Chocolate, Vanilla and Strawberry — Beer that is.  Cost $9.  Just had to give this one a try.

The strawberry was very sweet and the chocolate had a hint of chocolate flavor.  My daughter thought it tasted like coffee but I did not.  Neither of us cared much for the vanilla.

We then walked around the World Showcase to see what the festival was all about.  There are pavilions set up all around featuring different artists and foods.  The art was varied and included the original piece and some less expensive prints.  It was quite windy so none of the artists were able to demonstrate their work but they were all out talking to the people.

The food, of course, was good.  We had some Mexican food with sangria.

The food was excellent (under $20 for both items ) but the sangria was very sweet. It took us so long to drink the sangria that we didn’t purchase any other food or drink until we had completed our walk of the entire showcase.

After a breezy walk where we teased each other about being from Florida and freezing in 45 degree weather, we found a coffee I could not pass without trying.  Although the coffee was good ($10), it was small and not mixed well.

The food is delightful to the eye and I wish we could have sampled more.  I will be going back and I will be trying some of their beautiful food.

Here is a link to look at the food options during the festival:

Living Intentionally

Vickie Travelz

I just finished a great book series.  The main character wants to build a community of people who LIVE INTENTIONALLY, what a great concept!

Living Intentionally — knowing what you want to do and then doing it.  I can certainly use more of this in my life.  Do I even know what I want to do? Sometimes I think that I do but then I spend lots of time reacting to life circumstances.

When we decided to become Travel Agents, Keith and I were dreaming about turning our hobby into our profession.  I never dreamed it would be so involved.  This is not easy!

My eyes have been opened to a whole new world of possibilities when traveling.  I am so excited to share some of the new things I am learning and I am even more excited to travel in new ways.  However, I am going to have to really be INTENTIONAL about where I want to go.  Just because it s a really good price and looks fun is not INTENTIONAL — I will be gone all the time and I won’t be earning any money for the next trip!  I will get tired of traveling very quickly if I do that.

My husband, Kevin, and I have wanted to take a cruise to Alaska for many years.  Wait until you see how many different ways there are to accomplish this trip!  It is going to be so much fun to choose!  Sign up for our email list so we can send you lots of great information on the different opportunities available.

The name of the series?  Hearthland by Chautona Havig.  I was able to get a special copy — the entire series for my kindle, I was so excited.  The only drawback was that there was no ending to one book and beginning of the next book.  It was hard to talk myself into putting the book down.  I am going to put an amazon link to the first book (which is currently a FREE digital ebook) at the bottom of this post so you can check it out for yourself.

HearthLand Volume 1 (HearthLand Collection)

Kindle Edition: Check Amazon for Pricing Digital Only

Ten tips for your first Carnival Cruise

Vickie Travelz

Tip #1 Bring some money to tip the luggage porters when arriving at the port.

Tip #2 They are going to take your picture, alot.  It starts before you board the ship.  You do not have to participate but you should.  Just smile and let them snap your picture, it is part of the experience.  Every night you can go look for your pictures and toss the bad ones in the trash.

Tip #3. Budget some money for pictures.  There are lots of photographers on board and they are good at their job.  You will want to buy a picture or two or twenty.

Tip #4 Bring a corkscrew and a bottle opener.  On a Carnival cruise, you are allowed to carry-on one bottle of wine per person, good idea if you like wine, but if you forget the corkscrew you will be taking it home with you.  You can purchase a bucket of beer that holds 4 iced beers.  You can carry it anywhere on the ship with you.  But, you cannot open the beer without a bottle opener.

Tip #5 Bring sunscreen, bug spray and aspirin.  You might not need it but it is worth the space in the luggage if you do.

Tip #6 Don’t bring any clothes that are even the tiniest bit snug.  They wont fit after the 1st or 2nd day.   The amount and variety of food, drink and dessert available while in relax mode guarantees at least an extra pound or two.  Hot chocolate & BLTs via room service is a family favorite.

Tip #7 If you are a photographer at heart, bring your camera.  My daughter is a natural photographer and captures some amazing pictures with her phone but I need the camera to help me take some nice pictures.  I can’t capture the vibrant colors with my phone.

Tip #8 If watching people drink alcohol bothers you, consider a different vacation.  You can still have fun on a cruise if you don’t drink alcohol but there are bars everywhere and people drinking everywhere.  They give out free mimosas when you attend a 10 a.m. seminar.  Drinking is an all day activity for some.

Tip #9 Bring walking shoes.  You will be walking all over the ship.  Up the stairs, down the stairs, front of the ship, back of the ship.  You will have beautiful calves at the end of the cruise if you never take the elevator.

Tip #10. Ladies, bring the heels for dressing up at night but be prepared to leave them in the stateroom. Walking in heels on a ship is a bit different than walking on land in heels.   Also, your legs might hurt from walking all day or you might just be in a flip flop mood.

Packing for a Carnival Cruise

Vickie Travelz

I waited until the last day to pack.

We are leaving in the morning and I have many items laid out to put into the suitcase and I am pretty excited to try out my new packing cubes so look for a post on that experiment soon.

I remembered that one of my students gave me an amazon gift card and I wanted to be sure to get some new books on my kindle before we left — I plan to sit on the deck in the sunshine with my book and my beverage and just relax.  I am looking forward to it.  I was pretty excited to be able to purchase some books from my wish list but it took me over an hour to choose which ones to purchase – what is wrong with me?

I have had several kindles over the years and I have to say that the touch screen, backlit e-reader is my favorite.  I can read without the light on and my husband is quite appreciative of that.  My dad was even nice enough to purchase the one without the ads, I mean “special offers”.

I am off to charge my kindle and test out my new packing cubes!