Monthly Archives: July 2014

Disney Fall 2014 Free Dining Offer Booking Ends Soon

Just a reminder that free Disney dining booking for the general public ends August 8, 2014.  Usually I have had my best luck booking this by calling Disney at 407-939-5277 or you can also book online at

  • For assistance with your Walt Disney World visit, please call (407) 939-5277.
  • 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM Eastern Time. Guests under 18 years of age must have parent or guardian permission to call.

Dates Available:

Aug 31 – Oct 3

Oct 26 – Nov 1

Nov 9 – Nov 20

Dec 12 – Dec 23

As usual the value resorts offer is for the quick service dining (all counter service meals) but you can pay the difference and upgrade to the regular dining plan. (This is what we always do, its are $19 a day per person.) Some resorts are excluded: Art of Animation, Port Orleans French Quarter, and Fort Wilderness Campsites.

Also this requires a three night minimum stay and a two day minimum park ticket for the free dining package.  I have spent many mornings on my way to work listening to the Disney music while waiting to book our free dining package.

I posted more information here:


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Staying at the Comfort Suites Paradise Island to Visit Atlantis

There is a work around for those wanting to visit Atlantis in the Bahamas but not pay that high Atlantis price. Stay at the Comfort Suite Paradise Island instead.

The Comfort Suites is located across the street from the Atlantis complex. A family of four is $136 in two double beds. Less than half of the cheapest Atlantis room a night.  (Or 25,000 Choice Points a night instead of cash.)

You will need to visit the Atlantis  Royal Tower for your Atlantis wristbands after you check in at Comfort Suites.  Along with full access to Atlantis, you also get a card from Comfort Suites that allows you to charge food and beverages at Atlantis to your room at Comfort Suites.

Breakfast is included at the Comfort Suites, the usual eggs, bacon, waffles and cereal. Basic but free.  The rooms come with a refrigerator so you have the option to purchase water nearby and keep it in your room.  If you wish to be closer to Atlantis please request the 2nd floor near the Atlantis exit.

If you are on a cruise you can also book a room for 1 day, this will get you Atlantis access much cheaper than the cruise ship excursions. Just taxi over to the Comfort Suites to check in with them and then head to Atlantis.


More information on the Comfort Suites can be found here:


Categories: Discounts, How I Save on Travel | Tags: , | 7 Comments

What place draws you back?

I have been several places, I have even more on my list.  But one place keeps drawing me back over the years.  What is that place for you, where is it?  What about it pulls you back?


The early morning solitude before the other campers wake up.


The memories of spending time there each summer and then being able to watch my daughter do the same thing.


Ludington State Park in Michigan, one of the best places on earth.




Categories: Trip Reviews | Tags: , , | 71 Comments

Small Town Circus Visit, Wait for the Larger City Show Instead

I came across these pictures and had to share about when the circus came to town.  We live in a small town area. Fields, corn, farms, you get the idea.  So when I saw a poster about the circus we had to go!  My parents had taken me to great circus shows as a kid, or that is how I remembered it. I wanted Daughter to experience the same.

The tickets were $10 but kids were free. That would have been a warning sign but we drove the twenty minutes to the location.


The circus was in a dusty field that had been kind of mowed for the people and cars to enter.


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Room Types at the Radisson Blu Chicago

The hotel is in an excellent location for anyone who wants access to Millennium park, Michigan Ave or even Navy Pier.  Its a five minute walk to the park,  not quite twenty to the pier or fifteen minutes to the heart of Michigan Ave.   The hotel is only eight minutes from exiting the train at Millennium Park Station when we ride the South Shore line.

We have had the privilege to stay in three different room types at the Radisson Blu Chicago.  And we each prefer something different, go figure!

This was a park view suite.  Hardwood floors, and the white decor similar to the park view rooms. It had a separate room with a couch and tv.  The bathroom was accessed through the bedroom.


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Marriott Credit Card Signup 70,000 points

Marriott is out with a new credit card offer of 70,000 bonus points after a $2,000 spend in three months.  Also 1 free night to start in a category 1-4 hotel and a 1 free night in a category 1-5 on your account anniversary.

You earn 5 points for every $1 at Marriott hotels, 2 points per $1 on airline tickets and car rentals. And 1 point per $1 on everything else.

The hotel category one redemption is 7,500 points up to hotel category nine which is 45,000 points.

A category one hotel is Fairfield Inn and Suite McAllen Airport in Texas. A category nine is the Bohemian hotel in Savannah.   A category five hotel is the Courtyard Grand Rapids at 25,000 points a night.

The word is that Marriott has purchased the Atlantis in the Bahamas.  This would be a great way to stay on points! Not sure when they will allow you to start booking but this could be a very sweet redemption!

More information and signup located here:

This link shows a $1,000 minimum spend which is even better….


Categories: Discounts | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Saving Money on the Flower Garden

I will admit some of this happens due to a busy schedule or being out of town in the spring.  But I usually do not buy my annuals until later, pretty much until its summer here.  I get them half off even if the plant choices are slimmer I can always find something to throw together.

These plants were $2 each and fit perfect in my vintage planter on the deck.


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Categories: Saving Money | Tags: , , | 11 Comments

Late Fall Disney World Room Only Discounts

Open for booking from July 23, 2014 to October 3, 2014 is a new Disney room only discount.  The available dates are October 4 to November 25th and the again November 29 to December 23, 2014.

They are offering 15% off at a value, 20% at a moderate, 30% off at deluxe and deluxe villas.

Offer Restrictions:

Advance reservations required.

Cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion.

Offer excludes campsites and 3-bedroom villas.

To book by phone, call (407) 939-1896 and speak with a vacation planning expert or call your travel agent.


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Planning the Next Adventure! Washington D.C.

Our next adventure was started by an email from Airfare Watchdog.  I had previously signed up on their site and randomly read the emails they send me about airfare from my local airport.  This time when I read it I spied $88 round trip tickets from Detroit to Dulles.  I looked at the dates but nothing that worked for me in Aug/ Sept.

A few days later I am reading another email from Airfare Watchdog and I see the same rate.  This time I dug further into the dates and saw that late fall had some availability.  Bingo!  Daughter has fall break and I could get the time off work.  I booked those tickets on Frontier before the day was over!

Do not wait too long and think that an airfare will stay at a low rate.  For Frontier this seems to be a newer route for them so the price is still low, I got lucky that it was still offered pretty inexpensively! When I was last purchasing airfare the prices were changing by the hour while shopping for New York.  If you see a good fare jump on it!

I am still ironing out hotels.  Hotel prices seem to be running well above $200 a night and I just do not want to lay that kind of cash out for a few nights on a “cheap” trip!  I need to look at my hotel point inventory better.

Club Carlson gives me a few options.  There is a Country Inn and Suites out by Dulles but that is too far to commute each day (20 miles to the White House) but its only $129. There is the Radisson Largo which is starting at $173 a night but its almost a mile walk to the Metro station or waiting for their shuttle.  Its 12 miles to the White House so a little further out than I still want to be.  Or there is a Radisson near Reagan Airport in Crystal City.  This hotel is 3 miles from the White House but its also $209 a night. I could use points for these instead of cash.

IF Marriott is offering the stay 2 times get a night free I might be looking their way.  This seems to be a steady promotion but you never know for sure until the dates get closer.  I need a night at the Detroit airport before we leave so that would get me two stays in the promo period easily.

The Courtyard Washington D.C. / Capital is $269 and a couple of miles to the White House.  The FairField downtown is $239 a night. They are six blocks from the White House so that would be a pretty good location! I need to see how many points they take to book.

So a few things to nail down once I see the fall promotions being released.  Earn the free hotel nights as you burn the nights.


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New Hilton Promotion: Triple Your Trip

Hilton has released a new promotion called “Triple Your Trip”.  Sign up and then stay August 1 to October 31, 2014 to earn the bonus points.  You earn 2x on weekday stays (Monday through Thursday) and 3x on weekend stays.

You can register here:

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