Discovery Cove’s Aviary

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At one end of the park, near the swim-in snack area and the lazy river, there is an Aviary.  You can walk into the area from the park or you can exit the lazy river and climb the stairs to a separate door.

As you enter the area, there is a cart to get a container of food.  As you walk around the three areas, you hold out your arm and wait for a bird to fly down and get some food.  You feel pretty stupid for a minute when you realize that the birds are ignoring you but it is pretty cool when a bird lands on your arm.  After after a few minutes, some of the bigger birds get heavy and you want to pass them to another person — that is pretty fun as well.

There are laminated sheets telling you the names of all the birds in the area so you can see what bird you were able to feed.  I didn’t think about it at the time, but these areas are very clean and do not smell at all.  Both times we visited, at least one of the areas was being cleaned.

This seems so simple but it was so fun we did it twice.  The second time we just dropped by as we were floating by on the lazy river.


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Discovery Cove – Our Private Cabana

As you know from previous posts, a private cabana was something we splurged on during our Discovery Cove trip.  This is not something we normally do but our daughter convinced the entire family to chip in so it wasn’t a huge addition to our overall cost.

After breakfast, we went to guest services as directed.  A very nice man escorted us through the park, giving us a more detailed description of different areas, directions around the park and stopping to pick up our safety vests along the way.  As we arrived to our Reef Side Cabana, he pointed out all our features and let us know that our Cabana Host would be stopping by shortly.

We wandered down to our reef side Private-Like beach.  We were smiling and feeling super special when we saw our name on the Reserved sign (such a little thing to bring such a huge smile). Continue reading Discovery Cove – Our Private Cabana

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

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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