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Being a Travel Agent!

I love traveling! And I love writing! So it is a win/win to combine both loves. However I want to make sure that those reading my blog are not confused since the name of my blog is different than the travel agency where I work!

Once Upon A Time Vacations is the agency where I work. I am what is called an Independent Contractor but it is through Once Upon A Time Vacations. I specialize in luxury travel plus Disney, cruise and group travel.

Long before I became a Travel Agent I started a blog called Disney with Children. And when I began my career in early 2014 as a Travel Agent most of my bookings were Disney World. As I have expanded to bookings all over the world I realized I needed two blogs-one for Disney, and one for everything else.

So bbvoyages.com was born. BB stands for my initials, and voyages invokes, at least to me, the allure of travel: culture, new experiences, romance and amazing adventures.

My hope is bbvoyages.com will entice you to explore the world. There is a great big world out there with so much to see, learn and experience. And I make it easy for you-all you have to do is email me at beth@onceuponatimevacations.com or call me at 917-494-1343 so we can start planning your next adventure wherever it may take you!

 

 

Cruising with Family: Adventures in Costa Maya

This cruise had a few firsts for us: first time on the Equinox, first time visiting Key West and first time visiting Costa Maya. Many ports we have been to multiple times since we are fortunate to go on a lot of cruises.

We decided in Costa Maya to visit the Chacchoben Mayan Ruins since they were only an hour away from port. Our ship Celebrity Equinox did offer excursions to the ruins but we decided to go with a private tour company. We were not sure how long Julia or we would want to be at the ruins so we felt doing it privately would be the best option.

We found a company called The Native Choice. Ok in all honesty my mom did. So you know how the cobbler’s children have no shoes? Children and immediate family of travel agents never have any plans made for them by the TA. Yes, we book the trip, put in special requests, but then all the clients who are not related to us, or who didn’t give birth to us, or who we didn’t give birth to, need us to plan amazing trips for them. So with less than a week out my mom found this amazing company called The Native Choice.  I did email them, and inquire if they could do a private tour. Turns out for 4 people it was a 100 dollars cheaper than the 4 of us going with a group through Celebrity.

They emailed instructions. Right outside the gates to the port it was about a 5 to 10 minute walk. Because they are not associated with the cruises, or a cab company they could not pick us up right outside the entrance.

We arrive in Costa Maya and it is like 100 million degrees. Ok I think it may have only been 100 degrees but it felt like a 100 million. Or if you need a better description it felt like we had landed on the sun.

Look at the picture below. That does not do justice to how far the walk is from getting off the ship to the entrance to the port. I have walked some long walkways, but nothing like this. By the time we got to the entrance of the port shops it not only felt like I had landed on the sun, it looked like I had been thrown in the water-the sweat was bad very bad.

We made it to the office where the tour guide and the driver were amazing. We were taken to an air conditioned van, given ice cold bottles of water and off we went to the ruins.

The ruins were very interesting, but VERY, VERY HOT! If you missed it-it felt like we had landed on the sun.

 

The tour guide was great, and the driver also came with us. He carried cold water for us. It was great doing it as a private tour because we could only handle about 45 minutes total with the heat.

Upon arrival back at the car the driver had the car cooled, and had iced water towels for us.

They were able to drop us back at port.

It was a great trip to the ruins, and definitely something I would recommend. And absolutely I would suggest using The Native Choice.

Question: Have you visited Costa Maya? If yes what did you visit?

Cruising with Family: Adventures in Key West

We are currently sailing the high seas on the Celebrity Equinox!

Our first port was Key West. We were super excited about Key West as none of us had ever been. And it’s a 7 hour drive from where we live, and we are not great with car road trips. So we needed a cruise to get us to Key West.

We are traveling with my parents. Upon looking at the excursions I knew Julia would be very into the Ghosts and Gravestones tour. She just loves ghost stories. My parents were more interested in a traditional tour that included visiting Hemingway’s house. We decided to split up!

Julia and I went off to find out why Key West is considered one of the most haunted places in the United States.

You start off with a 1/2 an hour trolley ride with your Ghost Host who keeps everyone entertained with tales of ghost stories in Key West. He uses pictures to enhance the story telling!

 

The highlight of the tour is getting to view Robert who is a doll that was the inspiration for Chucky the possessed doll in the movie franchise Child’s Play. He is located at Fort East Martello. Our ghost host also gave us a tour of the grounds. We saw the most haunted spot in Key West!

We went to see Robert. Robert is protected in a glass case. To take his picture you need to ask his permission. Then thank him. Since his appearance can freak some out I will not post his picture. However I can assure you I asked permission, and then thanked him. They actually display notes that are sent to Robert. Many say how much they enjoyed visiting him. However some apologize for not asking his permission to take his picture and then thanking him. I guess Robert can cause all kinds of trouble to picture takers who are not polite. To cover my bases-I used the chalk board to write him a note thanking him for letting me take his pic!

Once the tour finished Julia wanted to head to the ship. However I have been obsessed with stopping at the picture spot for the Southernmost point in the United States. I usually stray away from tourist traps or something I consider cheesy, but I so wanted this picture. Julia wasn’t thrilled, but she was a good sport!

We actually took a cab, had the cab wait while we took the picture and then headed back to port. Took all of about 20 minutes and 25 dollars! I think it was totally worth it!

We had a sea day today. Tomorrow we are stopping in Puerto Costa Maya, Mexico. Another port we have never visited. We are going on a private tour of the Chacchoben Ruins. We are looking forward to it, and I will definitely be posting about our experience!

Question: Have you visited Key West? If yes what did you do there while visiting?

Summer is for Cruising and NYC!

Summer has unofficially started since we just celebrated Memorial Day. And many kids have finished the school year, including my own little-so we are officially in summer mode!

First Stop-Crusing on Celebrity Equinox

This will be our first time on the Equinox, but 3rd Celebrity cruise. We love sailing on Celebrity, and we are excited to try a different ship.

We are visiting two ports we have been to before: Grand Cayman and Cozumel. But we are also going to Key West and Costa Maya.

Julia, my daughter, is 9 but very into ghosts and creepy, scary movies. So when I saw there was an excursion called Ghosts and Gravestones tour-I knew this was right up her alley! We will be doing that. I of course will come back and give a review when we return from our trip.

In Costa Maya we will probably take a tour of the ruins.

In Grand Cayman Julia and my dad will be going to the Cayman Turtle Centre. I have been with Julia twice before. It is an amazing place if anyone in your party is at all interested in turtles.

 

My mom and I will be relaxing at a resort located on the island. We booked the Westin through Resort for a Day We are very excited-you get a hotel room and access to everything the resort offers.

It will be our 4th time in Cozumel. The last time we were in Cozumel, Julia and I just walked around the port, and then had lunch at Margaritaville. We had a really lovely time, and that is what we plan to do again.

After a week long cruise we have about 2 weeks, and the we head to New York City for a few days together. We have a lot planned-theater, museums and even a candy store excursion.

We will be seeing Anastasia, Come From Away and The Great Comet.

We will be checking out various museums, and then I thought it would be fun to take Julia to Economy Candy.

Definitely follow me on my different social media channels as I will be posting pictures of all our adventures!

Questions: What fun plans do you have for the summer?

 

Americas Cake Fair Coming To Orlando October 13-15, 2017!

 

ORLANDO, Fl. (April 7, 2017) – Sweet news for dessert lovers. Tickets are now on sale for highly-anticipated return of The Americas Cake Fair (Cake Fair) to the Orange County Convention Center on October 13-15, 2017.

 

Cake Fair is the largest trade and consumer show in North and South America dedicated to cake, chocolate, sugar arts and more. The inaugural Cake Fair in 2015 became an immediate sensation among professionals and consumers, alike.

 

This year, more than 10,000 baking professionals, industry buyers, pastry chefs, cake artists, retail bakers, hobbyists and everyday foodies from around the world are expected to attend the three-day celebration of cake, chocolate and sugar artistry.

 

“Consumer interest in baking is at an all-time high,” said Kevin O’Reilly, founder of Satin Fine Foods and Cake Fair. “There’s an enormous hunger among professionals and hobbyists, alike, for new products, services and ideas. Our show delivers that and much more.”

 

Building on the enormous success of the 2015 show, The Americas Cake Fair 2017 promises to be bigger, bolder and even more spectacular. “It’s the largest opportunity in the Americas to become completely immersed in the world of cake, and to learn from the very best in the business,” O’Reilly added.

Due to popular demand, show producers have added an extra day of hands-on classes and demonstrations on Thursday, October 12, one day prior to Cake Fair’s official opening. From the art of airbrushing to mastering chocolate modeling, all classes and demonstrations will provide instruction on the latest techniques from the world’s most knowledgeable cake decorating experts. All classes are three hours in duration and must be booked in advance online.

Internationally-popular pastry chef and television personality Duff Goldman, star of Food Network reality shows Ace of Cakes, Duff Till Dawn and Holiday Baking Championship, will delight attendees during his stage appearances on Saturday and Sunday. Other world-renowned cake industry celebrities scheduled to present throughout the weekend include: Mich Turner, whose clientele includes The Queen of England, Madonna and David Beckham; and pastry genius Ron Ben-Israel, named “the Manolo Blahnik of wedding cakes” by The New York Times.

 

In addition to the featured stage presentations, the show’s jam-packed schedule will include:

–  The Sugar Art Fashion Show sponsored by Cake Central, with models strutting the runway adorned by cake costumes and edible ensembles

–  Live Global Cake and Chocolate Challenges, where international teams and individuals will battle for top honors

–  Traditional cake competitions offering cash prizes for contestants across all skill levels

–  More than 100 hands-on classes, demonstrations and business seminars taught by the world’s best cake decorators

–  An exhibit hall overflowing with products and services, including some items for cash and carry.

Rounding out the expo are four themed “zones” sprinkled around the show floor, including:

  1. A wedding zone, where attendees can “engage” in the latest cake and wedding trends
  2. A chocolate zone, exploring the finest in gourmet chocolate making and modeling
  3. A kids’ zone, for a yummy interactive experience for budding cake artists
  4. A cake zone for a delectable introduction to fondant and other skills

Attendees can enjoy sweet savings by purchasing tickets online, and can save even more when attending the show on multiple, consecutive days. Prices start from $30 for regular, single-day adult admission with advance online purchase. Advance registration is highly recommended for hands-on classes, demonstrations and Retail Bakers of America seminars.

 

Attendees can enjoy sweet savings by purchasing tickets online, and can save even more when attending the show on multiple, consecutive days. Prices start from $30 for regular, single-day adult admission with advance online purchase. Advance registration is highly recommended for hands-on classes, demonstrations and Retail Bakers Association seminars.

 

Cake Fair is hosted by Satin Ice, which is made by Satin Fine Foods, Inc., an industry-leading manufacturer distributing its premium range of cake decorating products to more than 60 countries worldwide. Partners and sponsors of The Americas Cake Fair include American Cake Decorating; Ateco; Cake Central; Cake Masters, DecoPac; Domino Sugar; Pillsbury; Retail Bakers of America; and Sterling Bank.

 

Stay up to date on Cake Fair event updates, special offers and exclusive contests by following the show on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@cakefair). For those who want to present their work during live challenges and competitions, registration and information about themes and rules is now available. For more information about exhibitor opportunities, exclusive, customizable sponsorship packages, visit www.cakefair.com.

 

About Satin Ice / Satin Fine Foods, Inc.

Satin Fine Foods, Inc. is a world-leading rolled fondant manufacturer. Established in 2001, Satin Fine Foods developed the Satin Ice range of products to satisfy the demands of the world’s best cake artists. Known for its superior workability, consistency and taste, Satin Ice has become the premium fondant of choice for professional cake artists around the globe. For more information please visit www.satinice.com

No Post Since January?

Back in January I had all these great intentions, and look what happened. No posts since January. That is unacceptable. And the thing is I really do want to post 1-3 times a week. I have so much to share!

I am going to really work at posting at least 1 time a week. Here are some of the things I want to be sharing with you!

New York City!

I am going to be there for 5 weeks this summer. I already have two shows booked:

Anastasia and Come From Away!

I will definitely be seeing more!

I also will be exploring activities and places in and around NYC so I will definitely be sharing all that with you!

Cruises!

I LOVE cruising. Last month my family and I went on the Royal Caribbean’s Oasis which needs a whole post!

And back in November we sailed for the second time on Celebrity’s Silhouette which also needs a whole post.

Plus I just finished a conference devoted to cruising and learned about so many great ships, and got to take two ship tours.

Summer Travel!

There are so many opportunities for summer travel all over the US and the world. I have suppliers that offer great deals all over and definitely want to share with you so I can get you booked and ready for summer!

Books!

As I have written about I love reading and nothing says vacation like a good book. I have read some great books recently and definitely want to share with you what I have read. Also would love to hear about what you are reading!

Orlando!

I do consider myself a New Yorker since I did live there for over 40 years, but Orlando is my home, and this city offers wonderful experiences from shows to restaurants to activities, and I want to share that with you as well.

I am going to be posting at least once a week, which means by the end of this week there will be a post!

I am looking forward to getting back to posting and sharing!

 

 

 

 

 

The Race to the Ladies Room on Broadway!

I grew up in NYC, and both my mom and grandmother were huge fans of Broadway shows. They started me off seeing shows at a young age-about 4. Not only did I learn to appreciate and love the theater, but I also learned early on about the race to the ladies room.

As soon as intermission was about to start we would begin to get ready-hands on our bags, bodies set in motion to pop up the minute the curtain hit the floor. It became a game to see if we could actually be the first one in the ladies room. While we might not have always been the very first one-we never had to wait more than a minute or two for a stall.

This past holiday season I had the opportunity to go almost daily to the theater. And I was once again reminded about the race to the ladies room.

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At each show I was ready when intermission was upon me (with the exception of The Humans which has no intermission). While I know a lot of women do a similar race to the ladies room I was truly reminded of it at Fiddler on the Roof.

I made it to the ladies room with just one woman in front of me. She was laughing. Her younger daughters were already in stalls. She commented to me that they were really speedy. I told her she had taught them well-speed to the ladies room is a great skill to teach one’s offspring.

So in case we are ever at the theater together-now you know-I’ll be racing you to the ladies room at intermission!

Question: Do you do the race to the ladies room at intermission when seeing a show?

Here Comes the Circus-The Greatest Show on Earth!

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Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® is Bringing XTREME to Orlando!

Tickets are on sale NOW!
The Greatest Show On Earth® Features Extreme Acts Fused with Iconic Circus Traditions for the Ultimate Family Entertainment Experience

Prepare to be astonished and amazed by artists who redefine the word extreme in everything they do, magnifying traditional elements of the circus and combining these elements with never-before-seen spectacles, original, fast-paced performances and incredibly hilarious moments.

Children Of All Ages can let their imaginations go wild in an exhilarating adventure with extreme thrills, exotic animals and extraordinary performers that add up to the ultimate family entertainment experience. Join us at Amway Center from January 12-16, 2017 as we explore a world of extreme beauty, flexibility, strength and dexterity in ways you’ve never seen before.

High-wire wizards, powerful strongmen, BMX trick riders, trampoline daredevils, inconceivable contortionists, a high-flying human cannonball, a bungee aerial skydiving display and an international assembly of more than 300 cast and crew provide two and a half hours of thrilling entertainment.

With such an exciting lineup, The Greatest Show On Earth® guarantees to dazzle and astound, and a Ringling Bros.® show wouldn’t be complete without a full menagerie of amazing animals. Circus XTREME features beautiful Bengal tigers and two-humped camels ridden by brave Mongolian women.

The party starts an hour before the show at the All Access Pre-show, which is free with ticket purchase. Families can meet an international cast of performers and get up close to the menagerie of animals. Try on custom costumes, learn circus skills — like juggling — from the famous Ringling Bros. Clown Alley. Together with the show, families receive over three hours of extreme family fun not to be missed.
Prepare to be amazed by the unexpected. Do something extreme today, and get tickets for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents Circus XTREME.

Ticketholders can purchase an upgrade and go backstage with a VIP Behind the Scenes Tour of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. The backstage experience includes an insider look at props and wardrobe, an up close and personal encounter with the animals and a chance to meet stars from the show. Fans will also have an opportunity to take pictures and learn educational fun facts. To take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime experience, just log on to ringlingbros.expapp.com from iPhone or Android smartphone, and provide name, e-mail and phone number to become a VIP circus insider.
Performance Schedule:

Thursday, January 12 at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, January 13 at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, January 14 at 11:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, January 15 at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Monday, January 16 at 1:00 p.m. (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day)

For more information visit Ringling.com, or visit us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Facebook (www.facebook.com/RinglingBros)
Twitter (@RinglingBros, #RinglingBros, @AmwayCenter, @NicoleFeld (Show Producer)
YouTube (www.youtube.com/RinglingBros)

Tickets for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents Circus XTREME® are on sale NOW! All seats are reserved. Tickets are available at www.Ringling.com or www.ticketmaster.com, at any Ticketmaster outlet, by calling 800-745-3000, or at the Amway Center box office (phone: 407-440-7900). For group ticket sales and information, call 866-248-8740. The Amway Center is located at 400 West Church Street – Suite 200, Orlando, Florida 32801.