Disney Travel AFTER the Holidays

Check out this Disney travel blog post that I wrote for The Magic For Less Travel blog. If you are looking for a great time to visit Walt Disney World, consider waiting until after the holiday season is over. There are lots of advantages to traveling then as long as you keep a few things in mind.

Interested in visiting the Mouse and Florida? Contact me for a free, no obligations travel quote for your Disney vacation!


Disney Travel after the Holidays

Round Up: Blog Posts on Disney Travel UPDATED

Posts On Disney Travel UPDATED

When I relaunched RadioCarla.com last May, my plan was to start blogging about Disney (especially Disney travel) a bit more here. But, I’ve been lucky enough to get several opportunities to blog about Disney travel on other blogs so I decided to share them here.

Last year, I started a five part series on Disney travel for the Family Friendly Cincinnati blog. Under the heading “Mouse Magic for the Queen City”, the first two parts were published last year and the final three will be posted soon. I’ll add the links when they become available. have been added now.

Guest Post: Planning a Disney Family Vacation – When to Go?

Guest Post: Planning a Disney Vacation – Best Ways to Get There

Guest Post: Deciding Where to Stay at Disney World, Part 3

Guest Post: Tips for Dining at Disney World, Part 4

Guest Post: Tips For What to Do at Disney World, Part 5

I’ve also written three blog posts for The Mouse For Less web site. A online Disney community that was originally called Disney Dollarless, it’s been my home community since 2001 and I’ve met so many great people there.

A Walt Disney World Trip… Without Any Attractions!

Surprises at the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Traveling Walt Disney World and the Disney Cruise Line on Oxygen

Most recently, I wrote a blog post for The Magic For Less Travel blog. TMFLT is the travel agency that I have worked for and I’ve been there over ten years now. I was very excited to be able to share my experience of sailing on the Disney Fantasy over the Christmas holidays this past year.

Celebrating Christmas on the Disney Fantasy

Finally, my main blogging time is spent blogging about better beer in the Cincinnati area. But some of our most popular pages on the web site are actually about beer at the various Disney travel locations. This past Tuesday as one of our regular Traveling Tuesday posts, I wrote a post talked about those pages and discussed bringing your own liquor (including better beer) on a Disney Cruise Line ship.

Traveling Tuesday: Beer and Disney

I can definitely see more Disney travel posts from me here on RadioCarla.com. You never know when the Disney muse will strike me! If you would like a free, no-obligations quote, just contact me at carla@themagicforless.com and I can help you plan YOUR magical Disney vacation.

— Carla

Re-Launching RadioCarla.com

When Posterous announced it was shutting down on April 30, 2013 (thanks a lot, Twitter!), it gave me reason to think about what I wanted to do with my personal blog RadioCarla.com. It had started on Blogger and was more sports related (How about that win for the Cubs last night?) over there. When I moved it to Posterous, it became more generalized, but vague. I also shared lots of comic strips (I love comic strips).

The one thing I knew was that I wanted to switch to WordPress. Tom and I discussed it and then he installed it (and also moved his personal blog CrankyBear.Net to WP – Its re-launch is coming later). We also both decided to use the Responsive theme since we were using for the Rivertown Brewing web site and plan to move Hoperatives to it too.

We had gotten a back up of our Posterous sites, but soon discovered that there was some major clean up work to do after importing the back up. All images were there, but were not in the proper format so each had to be fixed one by one to show up correctly. There was also some extra HTML tags that needed to be removed. Personally, I decided to remove any post that was just a comic with no real commentary. That cut my posts from 162 to 61. (I told you I love comic strips.)

Design elements were next. Since the idea behind the Responsive theme is that your blog works on any browser (desktop, tablet or phone), I knew I wanted to keep the design very clean. The radio clip art came from http://openclipart.org/ (part of Creative Commons) and the background image is from a free Twitter background web site whose name I forget. I originally used it with my CinStateCarla Twitter account and decided it was too good not to be used more. And thank God for Google Fonts. They make such a big difference.

But what to blog about? As I was creating categories for my past posts, a theme of sorts began to evolve. I’ve been writing about the things I love: blogging, Cincinnati/NKY, comics, Disney (especially Disney Parks), craft beer, sports, teaching, technology, theater and travel. And so I’m going to continue that, but bump it up a notch. I’m also going to throw in some recipes and reviews and maybe something else. That’s the joy of a re-launch. You don’t know exactly where you’re going, but you kind of have an idea of the direction. As I was tweaking everything yesterday, I jokingly told Tom and some of my friends that I was going to add the tag line “Fat, Fifty and FUN!” I ended up not using it, but I still think it sums up my direction. So onward! And enjoy!


Typhoon Lagoon’s new Beachcomber Shacks

Beachcomber Shacks

via wdwpress.com

New at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water park are the Beachcomber Shacks – premium spaces that provide shade and comfortable seating for six people, all-day drink mugs, an ice chest stocked with bottled water, towels, locker, and a service attendant to bring food and beverage orders. All-day rentals are $250 plus tax and can be booked in advance.

Yeah, they’re pricey. But, no one can move your stuff and take your chairs (like some lady did to us last year at TL). If we were going with one or two other couples, I can see us renting one of these.

How Twitter Saved Our Vacation

How Twitter Saved Our Vacation

I’ve always been a sweepstakes person. When I was about twelve or so, I remember reading an article with sweepstakes winners detailing the tips and tricks of the trade. At that time, you had to cut out the entry blank or write your information on a 3×5″ index card. Each entry set you back the cost of the envelope and stamp, not to mention your time. Oh, how sweepstakes have changed! Fill out a web form, hit “Submit” and you’re done. Web sites like EZsweeps make it even easier by finding the sweepstakes for you and prefilling the form for you sometimes.

Over the years, I’ve won several small things. The best I ever won was $250.00 from Hormel. Until now…

I can vividly remember the day I got THE email message. The subject line was “Congratulations – You are a winner in the Dream Suite Sweepstakes”. My immediate thought was that it was either a scam or a phishing attempt. But something made me read closer. The email went on to say that I had won the Grand Prize in Sandals Resorts Dream Suite Sweepstakes. Then, it clicked. I remembered that I had entered that sweepstakes!

Being a academic, I immediately started doing research on the whole thing. The email was from a company called ePrize and a quick web search found a Wikipedia entry that said “ePrize is a Michigan based company that creates promotional campaigns ranging from online sweepstakes to points-based loyalty programs.” Okay… that’s a good sign. But, I needed more verification. There were attachments to the email that included an affidavit to be filled out and a set of the contest rules. In those, I found the name of another company – Unique Vacations, Inc. Another search revealed that Unique Vacations is the parent company of both Sandals and Beaches Resorts. Holy cow! This win may be real!!!

Tom and I filled out the forms and sent them back to ePrize (FedEx with confirmation, of course). Then, we waited for them to verify my eligibility (and waited and waited). I became very superstitious and didn’t want to tell anyone about my win until it was verified. Finally, in late July, I received my claim letter (their term) from Sandals and it was time to make my choices. I had won seven nights in a suite at any Sandals resort. Since airfare wasn’t included, I chose the one with the least expensive airfare from Cincinnati: Sandals Royal Bahamian in Nassau. I also had to pick my dates which were tricky with my school schedule. Once it was filled out, I scanned the claim form (just in case) and sent it back to Sandals (FedEx with confirmation once again). Then it was time for more waiting and waiting and waiting… The official word was that Sandals could wait until 30 days before the trip to notify us. Ugh!

This is where Twitter comes to the rescue. I started becoming addicted to using Twitter about a year before and since then, I’ve met some wonderful people thanks to it. Because my bio on Twitter states that I’m a travel agent, I get some interesting people and companies following me. On October 21st, I got notification that Sandals and Beaches Resorts were following me. I decided to send a direct message to the Sandals account and see if the person updating it was actually in the corporate office. Luckily, they were. A flurry of direct messages began. I explained that I was a winner in one of their recent sweepstakes and that I was anxious to hear if I had gotten the time period I requested since I didn’t have much flexibility there. Lydia, the delightful person I was Twitter-chatting with, started checking for me and told me that Pedro would be the person contacting me with that information. However, as she was checking into things, she discovered my claim letter was missing! They had record of the security guard signing for it, but no sign of it after that! ACK!!! Just as I was about to go into full panic mode, I remembered that I had scanned the filled out form and I asked if that would work if I emailed or faxed it to them. It would! Hallelujah! I sent it to both Lydia and Pedro as soon as I could. They said again that I wouldn’t know for sure until December. By then, I was so relieved I didn’t care so much. Vacation was saved and this was all taking place on Twitter!

Just nine days later, my phone at work rang and it was Pedro from Sandals. He asked if I wanted to hear about my vacation details and I just about jumped out of my skin. We got the resort we asked for in Nassau and my first choice for the dates too. I thanked Pedro profusely and hung up the phone. I sat there for a good long time so thankful that Sandals decided to follow me on Twitter and that I decided to send them a direct message. And that’s how Twitter saved our vacation!

You can win too! Sandals is running another round of their “Four Days in Paradise” Sweepstakes right now. You can enter at http://www.sandals.com/sweepstakes/

Good luck and happy Twittering!


So the Cubs were out of the playoffs in record time. The World Series starts tonight with the Red Sox facing the red hot Rockies. The Bears are uneven at best (and really still in need of a quarterback). The Illini are a big surprise and so are the Texans. Tom and I are currently at the Learning 2007 conference at Coronado Springs in Walt Disney World. We fly back this evening and then on November 2nd, we head back to Florida for a four-night Disney cruise and then two nights at Wilderness Lodge. Life is good. 🙂