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John's Travel Update July 15, 2022

Are you having a great summer? I hope so! Have you been dreaming of a vacation? I hope so! Here are some updates I want to send along - and a reminder that it's almost never too early to plan your next getaway!

Top 5 Tips For Your Visit To The 2022 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival

This INCREDIBLY popular festival opened yesterday and runs through November! This is the LONGEST EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival on record - and there's plenty of reasons to be happy! Here are my TOP 5 tips:

Tip 1: Get A Guide IMMEDIATELY!

The first time I attended a F&W (that's the short way to say it!) Festival, I wandered aimlessly around World Showcase and stumbled into the food and beverage booths. BAD CALL!

Simply grab a guide as you enter the park (they're literally everywhere so I'm not sure how I missed it the first time!). Take a few minutes to read over what is available and what you might want to see and do.

There are over 25 festival booths this year! That's a lot of amazing food and drink!

Tip #2: Make A Plan

Remember: World Showcase circles a huge lagoon - so you can't exactly pop from Canada to Germany in a couple of minutes. Your plan also depends on WHICH entrance you use: International Gateway (if you're coming in via the Skyliner) or the main entrance (Spaceship Earth). The guide will start from the Main Entrance - so you'll need to do a bit of detective work if you want to start elsewhere.

Tip #3: Start Early!

This year: the Belgium booth will open at 8:30 a.m.! It boasts Belgian Waffles topped with either Warm Chocolate Ganache or Berry Compote and Whipped Cream, as well as Chilled Mocha Coffee.

Most other booths open at 11 a.m. - which is plenty of time to enjoy some amazing attractions!

Tip #4: Pace Yourself!

Remember: it's a marathon, not a race. Every quick service location will offer free water. If you're including "adult beverages" into your touring plan - just drink a full cup of ice water between drinks.

John's Pro Tip: Share drinks! My husband and I will share a beverage so we can taste more amazing flavors. Plus - some drinks tend to be sweet - so a full glass can be a bit much.

Tip #5: Catch A Concert!

One of the easiest things to do is snag a dinner "package" with a guaranteed seat at the "Eat To The Beat" Concert lineup! When making your dining reservations, you can select this package for a slight premium - but it grants you a spot in a reserved section in the amphitheater. Plus - you get to jam to some great tunes and rest those weary feet! Check out the entire lineup HERE.

There is PLENTY of time to plan a last-minute trip to Walt Disney World before the 2022 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival ends in November! CLICK HERE to get started!

Disney Cruise Line Voted "Best Large-Ship Ocean Cruise Line" By Readers Of Travel & Leisure

If you've ever sailed on Disney Cruise Line - this should come as NO SHOCK: the readers of "Travel & Leisure" have once again voted Disney Cruise Line the "World's Best" for Large-Ship Ocean Cruises.

For four years (and six out of the past eight) readers have voted Disney Cruise Line as "the best" and for good reason!

The amount of activities onboard are truly endless. The rotational dining (with the same serving staff that follows you!), adult options and even a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique onboard all conspire to make for a vacation "of a lifetime".

Is the pricing higher on Disney Cruise Line versus other mainstream cruise lines? Yes. I won't sugarcoat it.

But all of that "Disney magic" awaits you on a vacation where you get nonstop fun - without exhausted feet at the theme parks!

My kids enjoying the ice cream that is sold on every block in Quebec City!
Canada: Worth A Visit!

For the past three summers - my family has taken an RV "Road Trip". This is something we sort of stumbled into: with COVID all around the United States, we booked an RV from Chicago to Phoenix (I can book that for you, by the way!).

On that trip - we enjoyed discovering areas we may not have seen via a plane (or more difficult to reach). Our "COVID Purchase" was an RV. That summer - we explored the West (from Arizona up to Oregon and back to Yellowstone).

Last summer: we went West once again but conquered Seattle and Glacier National Park before heading home.

Quebec City Old Town

This summer - we are heading East! Right now I'm in BEAUTIFUL Bar Harbor, Maine.

But for the past two weeks we've been relying on the kindness of our neighbors to the North: Canada!

I've never taken the the time to really discover Montreal and Quebec City and I'm embarrassed to say it was never on my radar.

Until now!

Our travels took us to an obligatory stop to Niagara Falls (which was a blast) and then we stopped by Montreal.

Montreal is a charming city located between Niagara Falls and Quebec City. Their waterfront is sprinkled with cute cafes and charming shops.

There is a GIANT underground pedestrian mall/center - over 20 miles! It's easy to get lost (ask me how I know) so be prepared with a guide - your phone won't work in most areas.

Although under some refurbishment, there is even a Notre Dame Cathedral you can visit just steps from Old Town Montreal.

During a rainy day - we took a visit to the "Biodome" which is located in Olympic Park (tall folks I'm warning you now about the parking garage heights). It was a good 90 minute visit (we may have gone 2 hours) and the kids got to learn all about our world and animals.

Montreal, as lovely as it was, felt more modern and gritty than it's neighbor to the Northeast: Quebec City.

I have truly fallen in love with Quebec City. If you want the "feel" of a European City (Paris, Budapest, etc) but don't want a pesky long flight: this is your destination!

Perched high on top of the city (and it's historic Fort) is The Frontenac Hotel (Fairmont) and it's absolutely luxurious and stunning inside.

We enjoyed a fantastic lunch overlooking the St. Lawrence River here and although it was a little pricey - sometimes you just need to splurge! Plus - the US Dollar is pretty strong in Canada, so that takes some of the sting out of purchases.

Want to explore the outdoors in Quebec City? Easy!

Montmorency Falls are just a few minutes north of the city and offers a spectacular hike (over 450 steps down) to view this one-of-a-kind waterfall. Don't worry: there's also a gondola you can take to the bottom if you feel like just enjoying the view.

There are literally miles (or, kilometers) of a waterfront paved path for bicycles and walkers/runners on the St. Lawrence River.

Old Town Quebec is just as charming - lined with fantastic cafes and stores - all on cobblestone streets. There's even a fantastic Christmas Market here in December!

My son and I enjoying lunch!

Although most people in this area of Canada speak French, a simple "Parlez vous Anglais" (just TRY saying it) will endear you as a visitor who CARES about attempting to speak French. We didn't have ONE poor interaction in two weeks. From the Canadian Border Patrol to a Shopkeeper - everyone was warm and inviting.

Plus: the weather is generally cooler! So an escape "up north" might be just what you need for your next vacation!

Something I wasn't quite prepared for was the bugs! So take some bug spray with you - you'll thank me later!

Merci, Canada! I'll be back!

Wow this blog was a doozy! Thanks for reading! Hope to see you next week! Stay safe!

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