Drinking (and Snacking) Around the World at Epcot

When we got back from our Walt Disney World/Disney Cruise vacation a couple months ago, our friend Sarah commented on a picture that she wanted "a detailed accounting of everything we ate" on vacation. I wish that I had taken pictures of everything, because that is a challenge I would totally accept and vow to do it on the next trip! This year all I can give you is a detailed accounting of Drinking Around the World.
For those unfamiliar with Epcot park at Walt Disney World, there are two parts: Future World, with all kinds of attractions exploring science and technology (plus Coca Cola Club Cool, home of the infamous Beverly, which we did not partake in this year), and the World Showcase, which features shops and restaurants of 11 different countries. To me, Epcot is a vacation destination all by itself, and if I had unlimited frequent flyer miles, I would just spend long weekends at Swan or Dolphin hotels and take the Friendship Boat to Epcot every day.
There are ma…

5 Tips for Taking a Baby to Disney Parks

Often I hear from parents, "I don't want to take my kids to Disney until _____." I understand many reasons, such as kids who won't sleep away from home, not wanting to deal with naps, and not wanting to deal with a stroller, but one thing I never understand is "waiting until they're old enough to remember". Ugh, what a lot of pressure for your kid! How long do they have to remember to make it worth it? First thing you need to do when you think about a Disney vacation is to throw that minimum age out the window. Now, consider the fact that your child can fly free as a lap passenger until age two and doesn't need a Disneyland or WDW ticket until age three. Now are you considering it?  Let me share some tips on how to make Disneyland and Walt Disney World FUN with a baby!

Here are 5 things that we found essential for a six month old:
1. As mentioned in part 1, you'll have a much easier time if your baby is accustomed to sleeping in a portable crib…

Grand Californian Resort & Spa

As soon as Jewelscent announced their annual convention would be in Irvine in January, I knew Francis and Lilly were coming with me and we were going to Disneyland! I am working on a Disney Land & Sea vacation for a group right now, and one of the times I called to change a reservation, I asked to talk to Disneyland on a whim just to see what the military discount is like for the Grand Californian in January. They quoted me a price for 2 nights that was equal to one night in peak season, and Francis said, "oh, this is a once in a life time opportunity. We have to." Well... this was our second time staying in a Deluxe Disney resort, and I'm afraid now there is no going back.

Staying in a Disney Deluxe resort is an endorphin rush with no comparison. The more of them I stay at or visit, the more I am sure there is some kind of psychological trick to the grandiose scale and forced perspective of the lobbies. I asked on Facebook and a brainstorming session revealed that …

10 Reasons Walt Disney World is For Everyone

The craziest thing people ever say to Francis and me is "meh, I'm not really into the Disney thing." If your idea of "the Disney thing" is amusement parks, costumed characters, and mediocre food, boy are you missing out. OUR Disney thing is luxury resorts, fancy dinners, beautiful scenery, and every type of recreation you can think of. You could easily spend a week at "Walt Disney World" without ever going to a park.

1. Show me another hotel in North America with a savanna outside your window! We had a savanna view room at Animal Kingdom Lodge on our honeymoon, and the giraffes showed up outside out room at 4pm every day. Check out the Wanyama Safari sunset tour of the grounds, followed by a chefs table dinner with South African wine pairings at Jiko: The Cooking Place. Also check out Sanaa restaurant  at Kidani Village for an excellent savanna view while you dine.

2. Boardwalk Inn & Villas - This Coney Island styled resort also features a chef…

How to Have a Magical Time at Walt Disney World

I recently read a blog that was a list of "rookie mistakes" made by first timers visiting Walt Disney World. Besides being a lazy list stretching to fill itself out (what parent needs to be told that everyone needs to go potty when one has to go?), I don't like when a list of tips is couched in the smug terms of "rookie mistakes". Planning your first trip to Walt Disney World is already intimidating, right? I'd rather tell you how to add value than imply that you're going to make mistakes!

1. Obviously my first tip is to use a travel agent who is a Disney specialist! (That's me!)A great Disney specialist thinks the Disney travel agent training College of Knowledge test is too easy. They can help you book dining, Fast Pass +, special tours, and will have all kinds of extra tips. Most importantly, it shouldn't add any additional cost to your reservation! The travel agent is paid commission by Disney and the prices they see are the same ones you see…

Our Favorite D23 Expo Announcements!

What is D23, you ask? It's the official Disney fan club! D for Disney, 23 for the year (1923) Walt moved to Hollywood and founded the company. The D23 Expo is like Comic Con for Disney fans, with major announcements and panels and shopping all weekend. It's like Christmas for Disney nerds and we've been following the Expo news on social media all weekend. Here are the big announcements we're most excited about!

1. STAR WARS! There have been rumors for years about Star Wars Land at Hollywood Studios, especially this year as several attractions closed, and rumors about a major park expansion at Disneyland as the company has acquired land in Anaheim, but I don't recall anyone hypothesizing that BOTH PARKS would get a 14 acre Star Wars themed expansion, the largest single-theme expansion ever. Some new Star Wars experiences will be added as early as this year!

2. Francis's Star Wars pick is the cast announcement for Rogue One. Check out for a photo and…

The Triumphant Return of Francis + Beth! Now With Lilly!

Welcome to Franceth Travels! Many of you may know Francis and me (Beth) from the blog I started in 2008, Craves, Caves, & Graves. In the 6 years of writing that blog, I met, married, and had a baby with Francis, and also learned a lot from him about photography, and changed a lot of my philosophies about writing a travel blog. I also became a travel agent just for the joy of helping people plan their Disney Vacations, and I started a home based business so that I could stay at home with Lilly, spend more time writing, and generally spend more time having fun. That's a lot of changes! There was so much I wanted to change about CC&G that it got overwhelming, so I decided to take a break when I was pregnant and see how things went when Lilly was born.

I am happy to report that at three weeks of age, Lilly seems to be fairly portable, happy in the car, and a great sleeper, so we have started venturing out of doors! Not only that, but we just booked our next Disney Land & S…