travel planning


You may be using group discount coupon websites in your local town for some big savings, but have you considered taking advantage of those same great savings when you’re on vacation? Most popular destinations like Anaheim and Orlando have tons of great deals that are perfect for savings.

Half-Off Depot frequently has deals with 50% off savings on Kissimmee and Orlando area attractions and hotels.

Groupon Orlando has more restaurant deals, but they also have been known to include an attractions or water park deal every now and then. Los Angeles and Orange County are definitely worth checking out if you’re planning a trip to Disneyland.

LivingSocial also has Orlando and Orange County deals. I’ve found some really great vacation bargains via LivingSocial.

Even if you don’t see any deals you’re interested, make sure you sign up for email alerts to any city you plan to visit in the next 6 months or so to see if great deals appear. However, keep in mind these points:

  1. Some deals don’t activate immediately. So read the deal carefully before buying.
  2. Read all the requirements and the expiration date before buying. A deal that saves $10 off a $20 purchase but requires a $50 purchase from the whole table, may not be a good deal. Likewise, a deal that expires in September, but your vacation is in October, won’t work.
  3. Don’t over plan. Part of being on vacation is having flexibility, if you have a group coupon for every day of your vacation, you’ll miss out on some of the serendipity.

Discovery Cove’s SeaVenture is a walking tour of a beautiful undersea landscape created to provide a once in a lifetime memory. Don’t miss it.

While SeaWorld’s boutique water park opened its newest area, The Grand Reef, back in June, the much anticipated SeaVenture add-on excursion has only been running in soft-opening phase until now. They finally have enough divers and personnel trained to operate at full capacity and invited some of the local media out to experience it first hand. I was happy to be included in that bunch. It’s a good thing that they’ve added capacity because I can tell you that SeaVenture is an experience everyone will remember for the rest of their lives.

The walk includes special up close encounters, like this fish feeding.

Okay, there’s one caveat. If you’ve been scuba diving, then you can think about passing on SeaVenture. However, the people I’ve spoken with who have done both say that SeaVenture is still a great experience as you get to just be there without having to worry about time or oxygen or a 60 pound weight on your back. The folks at Discovery Cove really worked hard to make this a natural effortless experience for the participant and that is the big success.

The whole walk happens in this area of the Grand Reef. But it’s a full 20-25 minutes plus another 20 minutes prep-time.

Follow below the jump for a video I filmed while under water and more photos. Plus advice on how to book SeaVenture for yourself:

Studies have been very clear with the fact that not only do Moms control the household vacation budget, they make most of the decisions when it comes to where and when the next family vacation will be. So it only makes sense that Disney would tap into that valuable resource by appointing a panel of expert ‘Disney moms’ to help other moms make smarter decisions. Of course, this being Disney, they’re using the broadest definition of the word ‘Moms’ possible to also include Grandparents, siblings, and even dads.

The fifth annual Walt Disney World Moms Panel search opened today and for the first time in the panel’s history, the range of candidates has expanded to include Disneyland and runDisney specialists. Other expertise needed includes Walt Disney World Resort, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club, and Adventures by Disney. The Moms Panel offers guests vacation insights on a variety of platforms including exclusive “How-To” videos from panelists and celebrities, dedicated Facebook content, personal Disney Parks Blog posts and in-park meet-ups.

“We started the Moms Panel in 2008 with 12 panelists, a simple website, and the goal of helping first-time visitors plan their perfect Walt Disney World vacation,” said Leanne Jakubowski, who oversees the program. “We are very excited to expand our search to include new specialty areas. It is important that the Moms Panel is made up of real guests and represents a diverse spectrum of thoughts and perspectives so we can offer honest, heartfelt and useful information to help people make their time with us magical.”

Below the jump is a quick video from a Disney Moms Panel participant and details on how to apply: