Top 7 Reasons to Stay in an Orlando All Star Vacation Home

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Disclosure- I went on an all expense paid press trip sponsored by Disney.  All opinions are 100% my own.

all star vacation homes front 2Photo Credit- All Star Vacation Homes

Last month while I was a part of Disney’s #MonkeyKingdomEvent in Orlando, 24 other bloggers and I had the opportunity to stay in one of several luxury All Star Vacation Homes.  Located at 8039 Acadia Estates Ct., the home I stayed in was incredible.  It is 3,183 square feet, has 5 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms, and sleeps a maximum of 12 guests.  Normally my family and I stay at either a Disney property or an hotel in the Disney area but that was before my experience at the All Star Vacation Home.  There are so many reasons to stay in a vacation home instead of a hotel.  Here are a few of them.


DSC_0119 (1024x681)When you step into your luxury All Star Vacation Home it’s like stepping into a model home.  It is beautifully decorated yet feels like home.  It is the perfect comfortable home away from home for your Orlando vacation.



When you stay in an All Star Vacation Home it’s not like staying in a small hotel room where you have no privacy and everyone has to share one or two rooms with little space to spread out and relax.  The All Star Vacation Homes are 2 story homes with several master bedrooms, twin bedrooms, multiple bathrooms, a dining room, kitchen, pool, and more!  You and your family won’t be tripping all over each other in this house!  Each room also has plenty of closet space, drawer space, plus extra linens and towels to make your stay more comfortable.

roomsEveryone can have their own room to spread out and relax in.  Want to vacation with your extended family?  No problem!  There are plenty of rooms (and bathrooms) for everyone!  Instead of spending money on several hotel rooms, this is a much better way for a large family to spend their vacation.
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They even have fun themed rooms for the kids!  How cute is this Nemo room?  One of the other houses has a princess room..


couchThere are so many comfortable places to put your feet up and relax in these homes.  The bed I stayed in was so plush and cozy that I feel asleep quickly and slept like a baby every night.  There are plush reclining chairs in the home theater, cushy couches in the living room, and lots of chairs out by the pool to enjoy on your down time.  When we vacation we’re usually going, going, going so it’s nice to have a place that is comfortable to just relax and enjoy some much needed down time.  When you stay at a hotel the couches are usually pretty hard as are the chairs and you have to fight for chairs around the pool.  No need to worry about any of that when you stay in a private home.  If you stay in one of these vacation homes make sure to leave a day or two free just to stay home and relax.  It will be much needed after several crazy days at the parks.


entertainmentIf you stay at an All Star Vacation Home you don’t have to leave the house to have fun.  Upstairs there is a full sized video game and a pool table so get ready to rack ’em up!  Need to do a little work, there’s even a comfortable desk plus each house has it’s own WiFi.
screening roomWant to watch your favorite shows or even a movie?  Not only is there a television in the living room area but there is a plush, comfortable media room for everyone to enjoy.  I just love how it was decorated with lots of classic movie posters.


kitchenOne of the things I love most about staying in a vacation home is having a full kitchen with all the comforts of home at my disposal.  It is gorgeous and they’ve really thought of everything.  I didn’t get to cook at much in the kitchen because we were kept pretty busy on our press trip but I did cook a few times and this kitchen really had me wishing that it was my kitchen at home!

comforts of home 2The kitchens at the All Star Vacation Homes are fully stocked with every appliance, utensil, cookware, and dishware you might possibly need. They’ve thought of everything- full size side by side refrigerator with ice maker and water in the door, gas stove, toaster, coffeemaker, blender, electric can opener, measuring cups, and so much more!  They even stock the house with dish soap, a roll of paper towel, and detergent for the dishwasher plus containers to save your leftovers!  Save money on dining out and cook some of your meals in your home away from home.

diningReady for breakfast or a midnight snack?  You can dine comfortably in the kitchen nook area.  Want a more formal dining experience?  Check out the beautiful dining room table that seats six.


Don’t worry about bringing your entire closet with you on your trip.  Each house features a full size washer and dryer so you can do a quick load and have clean clothes.  Do a load before you leave and you won’t have to worry about doing mountains of laundry when you return from your vacation.  That is usually one of the things I hate about coming back from vacation.  It was so nice coming home and having all my laundry done for a change.


highchairMy girls are tweens now so we don’t travel with lots of gear anymore (thankfully!) but I was pleasantly surprised to find a high chair and a jumper for children as well as a childproof gate around the pool.  Those would have been such a blessing when my girls were younger.  While my family doesn’t need the baby gear, the All Star Vacation Homes are so family friendly for all types of families.  It would be so nice to stay in a house where I wouldn’t have to worry about my kids being too noisy, as they often are.


poolHate trying to find a towel or a lounge chair at a crowded hotel pool?  Don’t like swimming with that creepy old man watching you and your kids?  Or the rowdy teenagers on vacation from college?  That’s not a problem at an All Star Vacation Home.  Step right outside to your private pool with ample space for lounging around.  Feel like spending a relaxing day by the pool and in the hot tub?  There’s even a barbecue if you want to have a cookout.

With so many amazing comforts and amenities, once you stay at an All Star Vacation Home, you’ll never want to stay in a hotel again!


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Going on Safari, Disney Style on the Wild Africa Trek at Animal Kingdom #MonkeyKingdomEvent

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Wild Africa Trek 004I love animals so I was especially thrilled when I was invited on a press trip for the release of Disneynature’s newest movie, Monkey Kingdom, which is now in theaters.  If you haven’t seen it yet, make sure to check it out opening week (April 17-23rd, 2015) because a portion of your ticket price will go towards helping animals.  As part of the press trip, 24 bloggers and I had the opportunity to experience Animal Kingdom’s Wild Africa Trek.  I looked up the Wild Africa Trek on Disney’s website and I was immediately excited to learn about everything the trek would entail.  The Wild Africa Trek is a VIP guided 3 hour adventure.  I had no idea such an amazing tour existed at Animal Kingdom.  WARNING~ Lots of pictures to follow but with views like this you can understand the need for so many pictures!
Wild Africa Trek 005 (1) (1024x680)You can see us wearing our vests and harnesses here.

At the start of the trek we were all geared up in a special vest and harness to keep us safe.  We were given water bottles to fill with water and connect to our vests that we were able to keep after the trek.  It is hot in Florida so the water was much needed.  Once everyone was securely fitted with their gear, we were given wireless headsets so we could easily hear our tour guides, and we set out on our trek.  The first part of the trek is a walking tour where we saw lots of birds and other animals.  Our guides gave us lots of information about the animals and everything we were seeing as well as Disney’s conservation efforts and ways we could help.  One initiative I found interesting is called Dogs Saving Cats. In Namibia farmers are killing cheetah because they are killing their livestock.  In this initiative Anatolian shepherds and Kangal dogs are given to farmers to protect their livestock.  Cheetahs are afraid of the dogs so they won’t go near them and kill the livestock. They teach the farmers wildlife management and the value of biodiversity while addressing human-wildlife conflict.  This is just one of the ways Disney helps animals.

This tour is a bit rigorous so you must have physical stamina, be comfortable with heights, and be able to walk along small hills, foliage and unsteady rope bridges on this tour.  I was impressed that our gear and harnesses were checked several times as we went along to make sure that everything was fitting properly to keep us safe.

P1240429We saw all sorts of creatures big and small along our trek!

We walked for a bit and stopped to watch a hippo getting fed.  I wouldn’t want to get in that mouth!

Wild Africa Trek 012

Wild Africa Trek 015 (1024x680)

Then came my favorite part, the part I had been waiting for……the wooden rope bridge.  Yes, this bridge.  The one that goes right over hippos and crocodiles!
Wild Africa Trek 021 (1024x680)Can you see how focused and determined I was?  I was a little nervous at first, but crossing the bridge was really easier than I had thought it would be.  

Wild Africa Trek 076 (680x1024)

Wild Africa Trek 078Pausing for a photo here.  One of the most amazing things about the Wild Africa Safari is that a trained photographer will take pictures throughout the adventure of you, the animals, and anything else you would like them to take pictures of.  At the end of your expedition, you’ll receive a photo code that you can use to access and download images taken during your Wild Africa Trek experience.  This is all included in the price of your trek.  It was so nice not having to worry about getting in pictures.

Wild Africa Trek 090 with wordsHere I am giving a thumbs up when I completed both bridges.

Wild Africa Trek 020 (680x1024)

Yes, those are lots of crocodiles directly under us.

P1240436Such a pretty view from above.
P1240465Of course this is the view looking down.
P1240468Open wide!

Wild Africa Trek 104After you cross the bridge you have the opportunity to go out on a ledge overlooking the crocodiles for a closer look.  But don’t worry, you’re harnessed in and tethered so you can’t get too close to the edge.

Next we got onto a rugged safari vehicle over an open savanna teeming with native African creatures.  We were given special chilled washcloths that were infused with essential oils to help cool us off which was a nice touch.  On the safari vehicle there were also binoculars if we wanted to use them to see the animals out of the savanna.

Here are just some of the animals we saw during our Wild Africa Trek:
Wild Africa Trek 114

Wild Africa Trek 112 (1024x680)

Wild Africa Trek 122 (1024x680)

Wild Africa Trek 137

Wild Africa Trek 159

Wild Africa Trek 165
Wild Africa Trek 166 (1024x680)

Wild Africa Trek 011With all the walking we built up quite an appetite.  Fortunately we were treated to some delicious, African inspired snacks.  There was a nice variety and they were able to accommodate vegetarians and people with food allergies.  I was really impressed with how accommodating Disney’s food service was our entire trip for people with special dietary needs.
Wild Africa Trek 131

Wild Africa Trek 130 (1024x680)

Wild Africa Trek 133Yes we were glistening by this point.  Ok who am I kidding, we were sweaty by this point but look how pretty the whole food set up was.
Wild Africa Trek 141The view where we had our snack was so pretty and we were able to take several pictures with the gorgeous scenery behind us.
Wild Africa Trek 142

Wild Africa Trek 148

Wild Africa Trek 167Here are our amazing, knowledgeable tour guides.  They knew so much about the animals and also taught us about Disney’s conservation programs, how Disney is helping animals all around the world and lots more.  One of the first things we learned really stuck with me:

We don’t inherit this land from our parents, we borrow it from our children.


  • All things need to be attached to you or stored in the lockers provided by the attraction.  They have cords to attach your cellphone, sunglasses, etc. to your body so they won’t drop down into the water.  If you want to bring a camera it must be attached to you or around your neck with a strap.  I brought my digital camera with me but chose to leave my DSLR at home because I didn’t want the extra weight around my neck.  Since the photographer was taking pictures, too, I didn’t have to worry about missing anything.  It is really personal preference.  Some of my blogger friends didn’t bring anything with them.  Others used DSLR cameras, cellphones (with a strap attached to their wrists), and a few even wore GoPro cameras.
  • Wild Africa Trek is $189 to $249 per person, plus tax depending on the season.  This DOES NOT include the required separate admission ticket to Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park.
  • You should be in good health and free from high blood pressure; heart, back or neck problems; motion sickness or other conditions that could be aggravated by this adventure. Expectant mothers should not participate.
  • Guests under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a participating adult (18 years of age or older).  
  • Participants must be 8 years of age or older and at least 48 inches (122 cm) tall.
  • Participants must be between 45 and 300 lbs with the harness gear on. The safety harnesses used for this experience may prohibit guests of certain body shapes or sizes from participating.
  • Recommended attire includes shorts or pants and a comfortable shirt. Closed-toe shoes with a back strap or hiking boots are required. No flip-flops will be allowed. Skirts or dresses are not recommended.
  • Complimentary lockers for your belongings will be provided. You will also receive a safety vest and wireless headset so that you can hear your guide at all times. Cameras are allowed as long as they can be securely fastened to the vest.
  • Excursion occurs rain or shine, with the exception of severe weather or lightning.
  • Advanced reservations required.  There are multiple excursions per day so for reservations call (407) WDW-TOUR or (407) 939-8687.
  • Tour itinerary, content, duration and availability are subject to change without notice.
  • You will forfeit the entire price of your tour if you no-show or cancel within 2 days of your reservation.

A privately guided VIP expedition offering close encounters with exotic African wildlife in their native habitat.

A Thrilling Safari Adventure
Roam with wild animals on this 3-hour safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park (separately priced tour). Wild Africa Trek offers Guests the perfect opportunity to explore the Safi River Valley and discover animals of nearly every variety in an uninhibited, natural environment.

The Journey 
See yawning hippos and hissing crocodiles just 10 feet below as you make your way across a shaky rope bridge, secured to an overhead track with a safety harness. Ride in a rugged safari vehicle over an open savanna teeming with native African creatures—from towering giraffes to powerful rhinos.On your journey, your knowledgeable guide will share little-known insights on the majestic animals on view as well as the general operation of Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park.And as if your trek weren’t memorable enough, you’ll receive a complimentary souvenir as well!
Complimentary Photo Services
A trained photographer will take pictures throughout the adventure—a service that’s included with your tour. While you enjoy close encounters with the animals of the Harambe Reserve, the photographer will capture all the action and excitement.At the end of your expedition, you’ll receive a photo code that you can use to access and download images taken during your Wild Africa Trek experience.

Indulge In Gourmet Eats

Work up a decadent appetite during your trek and indulge in some first-class, African-inspired snacks.

Sample MenuMorning

  • Air-dried beef and prosciutto
  • Smoked salmon roulade with dill
  • Fig cake with Boursin cheese
  • Brie cheese and apricot
  • Berry yogurt and dried cranberries
  • Fresh fruit marinated in mint and ginger


  • Chicken curry salad
  • Sun-dried tomato hummus and mini pita
  • Marinated tandoori shrimp
  • Smoked salmon roulade with dill
  • Air-dried beef and prosciutto
  • Fresh fruit marinated in mint and ginger

Please note: Menu items are subject to change without notice.

Save $50 with a Special Summer Offer

This summer, get more roars for your buck—chomp $50 off the price of an afternoon Wild Africa Trek! Offer valid from valid April 19 through October 17, 2015

Don’t forget to take your family to see Monkey Kingdom!!!
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Disclosure- I was invited on an all expense paid trip to Orlando for the Monkey Kingdom Event.  All opinions are 100% my own.

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Tips and Tricks For Traveling and Cruising With Children

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cruisingWe recently took a family cruise on the Carnival Glory for my 40th birthday and along the way I came up with some tips to help you keep your sanity, especially while cruising with your children.

1. Pack a roll or two of paper towel.  They will come in handy to clean little messes, wrap fragile items when you pack to go home, and a million other uses that you’ll find while you’re in your cabin.

2. Pack a small bottle of laundry detergent.  I saved a few samples I’ve collected recently.  The ships usually have a laundry room where you can purchase detergent but it was nice having my small travel size so I could spot clean items that I needed to or hand wash a few small things and hang them to dry in the shower on the clothesline.

3. Pack a few garbage bags for your dirty clothes.  Then when you repack to go home you won’t have to put dirty clothes against your clean suitcase.

4. Pack disposable coffee cups with lids.  I love iced coffee and it was nice to be able to put my iced coffee in a disposable cup that I could take off the ship with me or even walking around the ship and not worry about it spilling.  They came in handy for my husband’s coffee and iced tea for my girls, too.  Seems silly but being able to take a drink around with a lid was great and unlike bringing our own sports bottles, etc. we didn’t have to worry about saving them.  Not very eco-friendly but we were on vacation. 😉

5. Bring a case of water with you.  I wish we had done that.  Water getting off the ship was a few dollars and we really needed cold water on each island.  I wish we had brought a case of water on the ship with us and kept some cold in our refrigerator like we had seen others do.  If you aren’t local, stop off at a CVS, Walgreens, or grocery store on your way to the pier.

Ideas for cruising or even just traveling with kids:
I bought both of my girls their own purses that were VERY roomy and had lots of compartments.  Here’s what was in each of their bags to keep them comfortable and busy on our trip.

~mini note pads
~pack of colored pencils
~a chapter book or two
~sweatshirt/sweater (yes it was hot on the islands but sometimes my girls were cold indoors)
~Mad Libs and other gaming pages
~battery operated fans
~hand sanitizer
~small digital camera (I bought them each an inexpensive digital camera.  They cost almost the same as disposable cameras and developing and I didn’t have to worry about developing any bad pictures.)
~deck of cards
~Uno or other card games
~hair ties (I have girls!)
~hidden picture pages (I bought a Highlights Magazine hidden picture book and tore out pages for each of my girls to keep in their bags to keep them busy.  They both LOVED these.)
~mints and/or gum
~package of nuts/trail mix
~water botle
~baseball hat
~a wallet (my girls liked having a few dollars of their own so they could haggle and shop in the straw markets)

YES, all of the above fit into EACH of their bags believe it or not.  Notice what wasn’t in their bags?  Electronics!  We all went ELECTRONICS FREE for the entire week and loved every minute of it.  We didn’t have to worry about charging our girls’ Kindles, Nintendo DSs, etc.  When they were “bored’, had to wait for their meals, etc. they had books to read, puzzle pages, etc. and honestly I don’t think any of us missed our electronics at all!

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My 40th Birthday Vacation Cruise on the Carnival Glory Part 3 #CruisingCarnival

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Disclaimer- I received free internet service while on the cruise and dinner for 2 at the steakhouse on the ship in exchange for posting about my vacation.  I wasn’t required to write so many posts but I had a lot to say.  I received no other compensation and all opinions are 100% my own.

Check out Part 1 of my 40th Birthday Vacation Cruise on the Carnival Glory
Check out Part 2 of my 40th Birthday Vacation Cruise on the Carnival Glory
Check out Part 3 of my 40th Birthday Vacation Cruise on the Carnival Glory

Ports of Call-
I live in South Florida so we sailed out of Miami. If you don’t already live down here, make sure to leave a day or two before or after your cruise to check out all there is to do in Miami. Our cruise on Carnival Glory went to Nassau, San Juan, St. Thomas, and Grand Turk.  We had all been to Nassau before but only I had been to San Juan and St. Thomas and none of us had been to Grand Turk.

In Nassau, Bahamas we went on the Sea and See Excursion.  This was a great excursion that had a little bit of everything. We sailed on a boat that gave us a little tour of the area and pointed out houses of famous stars.  They then dropped us off on something similar to a glass bottom boat.  On that boat we sailed to different areas of the ocean to observe the sea life including various species of fish and sharks.  The captain dropped food for the fish over the side of the boat and my girls love seeing all the fish swarming over to eat the food. It was a great way to see lots of fish without getting wet.

We sailed back to the dock and then went on a bus tour that included several stops including a castle. Once the tour finished we were dropped off by the famous straw market where my girls purchased several souvenirs. We then shopped in the downtown area for a little while before making her way back to the ship.
We decide to just “wing it” in San Juan, Puerto Rico and didn’t book an excursion in advance.  It actually worked out well for us because right off the ship we found a local tour guide was just about to start a bus tour of the area.  The tour was very interesting and informative. He made lots of stops for us to stop and take pictures.  He showed us both old San Juan and new San Juan.

We made a stop by the local beach and we even got to see an old Fort.

When the tour was over we checked out some local stores as well as a little open-air market where we purchased some handblown glass jewelry.
(My older daughter loved camp so much that she decided she wanted to stay on the ship instead of go on the island with us so that is why she isn’t in any of the pictures in Puerto Rico.)

The highlight of our stop in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands (besides shopping for jewelry for me!) was the Ice Bar.  The Ice Bar is an entire bar and exhibit made entirely of ice. It was such a contrast from being outside in the hot tropical weather. You walk inside and they give you a parka to keep warm. They also had things to wrap around your legs if you were wearing shorts as well as mittens to keep your hands warm. My girls got all bundled up while hubby and I decided that we were so hot we would go in without the jackets.  Adults get a free shot of rum so that kept us warm but I will admit I was getting a little chilly by the time we left.
Not only was the entire bar made of ice but there were tons of ice sculptures including a candelabra made out of ice, a bench made out of ice, and even a slide that you could actually go down made of ice.

We were supposed to go on a stingray excursion in Grand Turk but unfortunately due to rough seas our excursion was canceled. It actually worked out for the best though because there was a beautiful beach just past the pier where the ship was docked. The water was beautiful and there were plenty of beach chairs for everyone. We had such a peaceful, relaxing time playing in the water and searching for shells. The beach at Grand Turk was really one of the highlights of our trip and another place I’d love to go back to soon.

We can’t wait to go on another Carnival Cruise soon.
Keep an eye out for my upcoming post on tips for cruising with kids- coming soon!

Check out Part 1 of my 40th Birthday Vacation Cruise on the Carnival Glory
Check out Part 2 of my 40th Birthday Vacation Cruise on the Carnival Glory








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My 40th Birthday Vacation Cruise on the Carnival Glory Part 2 #CruisingCarnival

This post may contain affiliate links.
Thank you for visiting Cori's Cozy Corner! Please make sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our E-mails!

Disclaimer- I received free internet service while on the cruise and dinner for 2 at the steakhouse on the ship in exchange for posting about my vacation.  I wasn’t required to write so many posts but I had a lot to say.  I received no other compensation and all opinions are 100% my own.

Check out Part 1 of my 40th Birthday Vacation Cruise on the Carnival Glory
Check out Part 2 of my 40th Birthday Vacation Cruise on the Carnival Glory
Check out Part 3 of my 40th Birthday Vacation Cruise on the Carnival Glory

Professional Photography-
It’s always hard to get good family pictures where we all look nice, we’re all looking at the camera, and everyone is smiling nicely.  Usually I am the one behind the camera so I really loved how many photo stations were on the Carnival Glory.  There were at least 10 different photo stations, each with a different backdrop and props to choose from.  There were also photographers taking pictures when we got off the ship, in the dining room, and around the ship.  We also scheduled a private photo session with a dedicated photographer who spent about 45 minutes with us.  He took us to several different locations on the ship and took pictures of us in many different poses and in different groupings.  He did a fabulous job and we loved the results.  There was no charge for the private photo session but the packages were a little pricier than the regular professional pictures on the ship but they were worth the extra money.  The pictures below are from pictures I took of the professional pictures for the purpose of this post.  The originals are AMAZING!


I could write a post called “I Was a 40 Year Old Virgin” or “I Lost My Virginity on a Carnival Cruise” but it wouldn’t be for the reason that you’re thinking. Up until our vacation I have never had a massage or a facial. I normally don’t like strangers to touch me, but I figured I would treat myself for my 40th birthday because the spot was running a special combo package. It included a full body hot stone massage and a facial. I was nervous and not sure what to expect, but the woman who gave me my massage and facial was so sweet and comforting. Before she even started she asked me a bunch of questions about my medical history, my lifestyle, and my body in general.  the massage was wonderful and I was really able to relax. I also enjoy the facial and felt so renewed when she was finished.  I was afraid that she was going to try to sell me a bunch of products but thankfully she did not go for the hard sell. She did write down some suggestions for my body because I have fibromyalgia and some suggestions for facial products, but she really didn’t push me at all. This might have been my first massage but I know it’s not going to be my last.  There was a sauna and hot tub in the spa that I unfortunately didn’t have time to take advantage of but I plan to next time.

The food, the food, the food!  I couldn’t write a post about a cruise about talking about the food. There were three different time choices available for dining in the various dining rooms- either the early seating late seating or dining any time which is what we chose for the flexibility. We like the menu included some local dishes, daily items, and some Staples that would appeal to a variety of people. The kids menu also had staples like pasta and nuggets. Let’s just say none of us went hungry.  We all enjoyed the food on the ship.  My younger daughter loves salmon and was so excited that they were able to make her salmon every night for dinner. I really enjoyed that the appetizer portions were small so I was able to try more without wasting any.  In addition to the dining room there were also many other restaurant choices and buffets, including 24-hour room service and a pizza restaurant open 24 hours a day as well.  In the evenings there was also a tasting bar that featured a different tasting  from one of the restaurants on the ship each night. We really enjoyed stopping by the tasting bar for a sample.

My favorite meal of our vacation was when my husband and I dined at the Steakhouse.  It costs $35 per person to dine at the Steakhouse but it is worth every penny.  We had several servers who waited on him foot.  It was a true gourmet dining experience including a sample appetizer made specifically for each of us from the chef. To help us choose what we wanted to eat we were shown the different cuts of meat right at our table.  My husband chose steak while I chose filet mignon and lobster tail. Both meals were incredible but the dessert was even more amazing!  We each chose the chocolate sampler that had 4 different desserts.  Each one was more delicious than the next.  It was the perfect ending to a perfect, romantic date.  I only wish I had remembered to take my camera to dinner to show everyone how yummy my dinner was.

Art Auctions-
Did you know that some ruses have in our gallery right on board?  One of my favorite parts of the cruise were the champagne art auctions.  I really enjoy seeing artwork from some of my favorite artists and also learning about artist I haven’t discovered before. The artwork usually ranges from a hundred dollars to thousands of dollars depending upon the artist and the medium. I like it there is something for everyone’s budget and everyone’s taste. The auctions are a lot of fun, exciting, and I especially like that they also do some raffles and other giveaways. I actually won two different paintings as well as a credit to purchase other artwork. My artwork is being shipped to my house and should be arriving any day. I can’t wait to receive it and hang it up. If you’re an art lover or even if you’re not, I recommend checking out one of the art auctions on your next cruise.

Check out Part 1 of my 40th Birthday Vacation Cruise on the Carnival Glory
Check out Part 3 of my 40th Birthday Vacation Cruise on the Carnival Glory

Cori's Cozy Corner Disclosure Policy

My 40th Birthday Vacation Cruise on the Carnival Glory Part 1 #CruisingCarnival

This post may contain affiliate links.
Thank you for visiting Cori's Cozy Corner! Please make sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our E-mails!

Disclaimer- I received free internet service while on the cruise and dinner for 2 at the steakhouse on the ship in exchange for posting about my vacation.  I wasn’t required to write so many posts but I had a lot to say.  I received no other compensation and all opinions are 100% my own.

Check out Part 1 of my 40th Birthday Vacation Cruise on the Carnival Glory
Check out Part 2 of my 40th Birthday Vacation Cruise on the Carnival Glory
Check out Part 3 of my 40th Birthday Vacation Cruise on the Carnival Glory

Last month I turned the big four – oh! I decided I didn’t want to have a party and chose to go on a family vacation instead.  My family and I went on a 7 day cruise on the Carnival Glory and I couldn’t be happier with our choice.  We signed up for the Faster to the Fun “Excursion” before we even left for vacation.  It was only $50 per stateroom and it was the perfect choice for us. With Faster to the Fun we were able to get on a much smaller line to get onto the ship for our initial boarding. We also received our luggage in our cabin very soon after we arrived on the ship so we were able to unpack and settle in as soon as we got there. It really made our vacation start off much more relaxing than to not have any of our things upon arrival. My favorite perk of Faster to the Fun is that there is a special line at the Guest Services desk for people with Faster to the Fun.  It was nice not having to wait on a longer line to get my questions answered at Guest Services. It made me feel like a VIP. I was also very impressed that the second time I went up to the Guest Service line the Guest Service representative who helped me the day prior remembered my name before I even gave her my cruise card.  That was a nice personal touch.

We had opted to get two adjoining rooms for the four of us and it was a great decision. My girls shared a room and they each had their own bed. My husband and I had our beds pushed together before we arrived. We were able to keep the door in between the rooms open so my girls were never really alone. It was nice having two separate bathrooms to get ready in but we would’ve been okay if all four of us shared one room.  One room was spacious enough.  The room included a minibar with a refrigerator which I liked.  It was nice having a small refrigerator to keep things cold. Each room had a TV and while the channels were limited my girls were able to find shows that they liked to keep them busy while we are in the room. The room also included a safe, hair dryer, hangers in the closets, a mailbox outside the door to leave notes, a clothesline in the bathroom.
The bathroom had a basket of toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, and lotion, and in the closet was a robe for each guest to use while on the ship.  The shower was just big enough that I was able to help my daughter wash her hair and the adjustable shower arm was a helpful touch.

Here are some of the goodies that were left for us in our room. 🙂 My daughter wanted me to mention that her favorite part of the room was the nightly chocolate on her pillow and towel folded into the shape of an animal.

Ship’s Amenities-
There was so much to do on the ship including minigolf, ping-pong, a life-sized chessboard, several pools and hot tubs, a water slide, many different places for live music, a spa, fitness area, kids arcade, and nighttime movie playing on the big screen by the pool, a casino, and so much more.  the casino had something for everyone. There were slot machines for $.01, $.02, $.25, $1, and up. They had blackjack, poker, roulette, and even some fun crane games and other arcade type games to win cash. I like that in the casino you put cruise card into the slot machine to earn points to receive free drinks and other perks, but the best part was that you can charge your card right to your cruise account to get more cash for slot machine without having to get up. This was very convenient but could be a little dangerous.  LOL For those wanting a little quiet time there were adults only as well as a special serenity area for those 18 and over. There was lots of live music all over the ship not just music in the clubs. I was very impressed with how much the musicians got the crowd going. While waiting for my husband to finish in a store, I said over the balcony and watched down below as did musicians were teaching a group of travelers had advanced salsa. People of all ages were up and dancing. I have two left feet, but I was still moving around a little in my spot trying to learn to. There was ship wide Internet that you could use with your devices but believe it or not this blogger unplugged for the entire week. Even my children went electronics free for the entire week and left their iPad, Kindles, and Nintendo DS systems at home.  It certainly was a nice change.

We were very impressed with the cleanliness of the ship. We constantly saw employees cleaning at all hours of the day and night. We even saw somebody vacuuming the ceiling!   There was a hand sanitizer dispenser in front of each restaurant to prevent the spread of germs.  I really liked that inside the public restrooms on the door leading out of the restroom there was a little paper napkin dispenser so you can use the paper napkin to open the door without touching the handle. Right outside the bathroom was a garbage can to throw the paper napkin away. With so many reports of illnesses on cruise ships both of these were great additions. Our rooms were both nice size and each had three closets.

Kid’s Club-
The Kids Club was amazing.  Both of our girls had a great time.  We were welcomed by the Kids Club with a welcome package that included information, a coloring book, crayons, and a dry erase board when we first arrived at our rooms.  The dry erase boards came in very handy.  We put them on our stateroom doors and were able to leave each other notes about where we were going.  There were lots of activities with the Kids Club including crafts, games, fitness, science and other educational fun.  The counselors were very nice and learned all the children’s names pretty quickly. It was a nice personal touch. As a former teacher I really like that many of the activities were educationally-based. The children were grouped according to their age. My younger daughter was in the 68-year-old group and my older daughter was in the 9 to 11-year-old group. The free part of camp was over at 10 PM but then we also have the option of them playing in camp leader for a small fee. There were also several nights where there were parties for the children for a small fee.  The only thing that was a little frustrating was that one night the 9 to 11-year-old group had a party until 3 AM where the counselors brought the kids back to their rooms and my eight-year-old was jealous that her group didn’t have a party like that. They did have babysitting for her but she was sad it wasn’t an actual party. She cried a bit when we dropped her off but of course when we came to get her she didn’t want to leave.  LOL  On a side note, I went to take a picture of one of the lounges where there was a kids group going on because I wanted to show what the room looked like.  I was pleasantly surprised that the camp counselor stopped me because she didn’t want me taking pictures of the kids for privacy reasons.   I explained that I was a blogger and that I was just taking picture of the room and promised not to take pictures with any children in them, she let me take a few more quick picture of the area without the children.  I was happy to hear just how much they were protecting the children.

I have so much more to say about my awesome vacation on the Carnival Glory but this post is getting long.  
Check out Part 2 of my 40th Birthday Vacation Cruise on the Carnival Glory
Check out Part 3 of my 40th Birthday Vacation Cruise on the Carnival Glory






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Disney On Ice presents Rockin’ Ever After @DisneyOnIce

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Disney On Ice presents Rockin’ Ever After in Sunrise – BB&T Center, March 20-23 and Miami – AmericanAirlines Arena, March 26-30.
Disney On Ice
We went to the show on March 20th at the BB&T Center and had a great time.  It featured our favorite Disney character, Ariel, of course!  But it was also nice to see other favorites such as Belle, Rapunzel, and even Merida from Disney/Pixar’s Brave.  Having 2 daughters, we’re no strangers to Disney On Ice shows but they are always fun for the whole family.  We all enjoy watching the beauty as the characters spin and twirl as they skate.  It’s amazing to see what they can do on the ice.  My favorite of this show was Belle.  I’ve seen Ariel in a few other Disney on Ice shows but seeing Belle and the Beast was my favorite part.  Make sure to check out Disney On Ice’s Rockin’ Ever After when it comes to a town near you!
Get ready to rock out with some of the most magical idols of all in a musical showcase that features the hottest tunes and talent from across the kingdom in Disney On Ice presents Rockin’ Ever After! Jam to a Scottish jig as a group of royal contenders from the latest Disney/Pixar film, Brave, competes to win the heart of headstrong, sharp-shooting Merida, making her ice debut! Experience a show-stopping performance as Sebastian breaks out of his shell for one night only to make waves with Ariel. A chorus of harmless hooligans from Tangled unleashes musical mayhem when they get a visit from the sassy and spirited Rapunzel and her charming ally Flynn. And, get your feet moving as the Beast and his castle’s enchanted entourage take center stage in a spectacular show for Belle.

Buy 4 tickets for only $54 when you use code FAMILY online with Ticketmaster or over the phone.
Good for Friday, March 21st 10:30am and 7pm; Saturday, March 22nd 11am; Sunday March 23rd 1pm; Thurs., March 27th 7pm; Friday March 29th 2pm and 7pm; Saturday, March 30th 11am; and Sunday March 31st 1pm.

Offer excludes Front Row and VIP seating. A minimum of 4 tickets is required; additional tickets can be purchased at $13.50 each. No double discounts. Service charges, handling and facility fees may apply. Tickets are subject to market supply and demand.

Get Your Tickets Today!
Sunrise only:
Miami only:

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Family Fun and Learning at the Miami Science Museum

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Disclosure:  I received free admission for myself and my family to the Miami Science Museum to facilitate my review.  I received no other compensation and all opinions are 100% my own.

(PLEASE NOTE- My camera died after only take 1 picture at the museum so I had to take all the pictures for this review with my cellphone which doesn’t take the best pictures.  Please excuse the quality of my pictures for this review.)

Growing up in South Florida I have fond memories of taking field trips and family trips down to Miami and going to the Miami Science Museum.  My favorite part was always the laser light show in the planetarium.  The planetarium at the Miami Science museum only has the laser light shows once a month so we weren’t able to see it today.  We were still able to enjoy the planetarium show that was about where to find certain stars and constellations in the sky such as the Big Dipper, North Star, and other important stars.  We are hoping to be able to see some of them when we go outside at night sometime soon.  My girls were excited to see all the stars shining on the planetarium walls and ceiling.  We just wished that they had showed more pictures of what the constellations were supposed to represent so they could visualize it easier.  Hopefully we’ll be able to find some constellations in the night sky soon!
miami science museum8
There was so much to do at the museum today.  We were there for about 5 hours and could have stayed longer but we were getting hungry and had to come home to walk our puppy.  Make sure to bring lunch with you or eat before you go because there is no place at the museum to get a meal.  They do have several vending machines to grab a quick snack though and if you are really hungry they have tuna salad kits in the vending machines which are all temperature controlled so even in the hot Florida weather the snacks come out of the machine cold.

I really liked how there were screens throughout the museum that changed between a map of the museum and the schedule of shows for the day so we were able to easily know where we were and what the next shows were.  It even had a QR code that you could scan with your cellphone to get the schedule of events right on your phone.
miami science museum2
There were so many hands-on activities for all of us to do.  We started in the Sea Lab.  There we were able to touch and hold starfish, hermit crabs, sea urchins, and shrimp.  Watching the suction cups on the starfish was mesmerizing.  My girls loved this area so much we stopped here 3 times while at the museum.  It was interesting to learn all about these sea animals and my girls were particularly fascinated with the hermit crabs because they were so tiny and there were so many of them.  I have to say my favorite sea animals that we held were the starfishes.
miami science museum1

Some of our other favorite exhibits that are currently at the Miami Science Museum include learning about Hurricanes, Moving Things, Water, Wind, and Weather: Miami in a Changing Climate, Energy Tracker, and being Heart Smart.  We sat in an airplane cockpit, used our bodies to generate electricity, problem solved with gears, watched our shadows, and so much more.  There were exhibits that didn’t just challenge our minds and get our hands working but also challenged our bodies like the hula hoop.  
miami science museum3

Here’s my new favorite “selfie” picture:
miami science museum4Another one of my favorite part of the museum was the facial recognition exhibit.  You stand in front of the screen and it tries to figure out your age, your sex, and your mood.  It was so much fun to smile at the camera and watch it put a smiley face over my face and then frown and watch it put a sad face over mine.  But the best part- it thought I was a teenager and it thought hubby was in his 50’s.  LOL  Hubby didn’t like that too much! 😉
Miami Science Museum5
My girls were both picked to participate in the Science Live Show.  We learned all about liquid nitrogen and they each participated in an experiment on stage.  I am sure it is a lesson they won’t soon forget.
miami science museum6
We love animals of all kinds so we all enjoyed the animals in the Wildlife Center.  We saw various snakes, reptiles, arachnids, turtles, tortoises, an owl, vultures, an alligator, a crocodile, a bald eagle, bees in a hive, and so much more more.  We learned how the Wildlife Center rehabilitates many birds and then sets them free back into the wild or keeps them at the center if they cannot be turned back into the wild.  My favorite was the owl.  It was so cute!
miami science museum7
If you are in the Miami area make sure to check out the Miami Science Museum.  Admission is just $14.95 for adults and $10.95 for children (Dade county residents get a discount).  It is located just north of Coconut Grove, across from Vizcaya Museum & Gardens and open daily from 10am to 6pm (box office closes at 5:30pm).
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A Star-Studded Walk on the Red Carpet at the Disney Planes Premiere #disneyplanespremiere

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Ever wonder what it’s like to walk the red carpet at a Hollywood movie premiere?  On Monday I had the amazing opportunity to experience walking the red carpet at a Disney movie Hollywood premiere for the second time.  Last year I went to the Frankenweenie premiere in Hollywood and it was an amazing experience but attending the Disney Planes premiere was even more exciting.  I knew a little of what to expect and I felt a little more prepared.  The street in front of the El Capitan Theater was blocked off for the event.  There were 2 areas of the red carpet, the front, larger area where stars stand and pose and the back, narrower area where the people actually walk across to get to the event.  As we walked across the carpet, I heard shouts of “Teri” from the paparazzi.  I looked to the left and saw Teri Hatcher posing for the TONS of paparazzi and onlookers.

P1160651How adorable is Teri Hatcher kissing her daughter?P1160665Look, my foot ON the red carpet:
We walked across the red carpet and took a few pictures before we entered the fun carnival area that was sponsored by Target. P1160735
I just loved the balloon airplane person balancing on the world!
The carnival area had games like skeeball, a few crane game machines, and a fishing game just to name a few.  Everyone was a winner at each game and the prizes were all Disney’s Planes toys that will be sold at Target.  It was AMAZING!  Check out all the great games and food that was at the carnival:
Planes games and food collage
Photo credit: Walt Disney Studio
And here are some of the awesome Disney’s Planes toys that were give as prizes and are available at Target:
Photo credit: Walt Disney Studio
The carnival was AMAZING enough by itself but what was really the icing on the cake was being in the same place as so many stars.  They weren’t behind the glass or behind a gate.  We were all together at the carnival.  I stood next to Peter Facinelli (Dr. Carlisle Cullen from the Twilight movies) and I thought I might faint.  He was there with his children as were so many other stars.  It was great seeing the family side of the stars and realizing that many of them as parents just like the rest of us.

Marissa Winokur had her 2 sons with her and I smiled as she was struggling to hold all the toys that her boys had won.  As a mom I certainly can relate to having to hold a million and one things for my kids.   You can see all of her toys on the ground behind us.
Here is Ashley Simpson checking out the awesome toys with her son and a friend.
One of the highlights of the premiere was getting to meet and take a picture with Teri Hatcher.  She was so sweet, funny, gracious, and especially beautiful!  She took the time to pose with quite a few of us.
As the mom of 2 girls who LOVE watching the Disney Channel, I was so excited to be able to meet and take pictures with some of the stars of their favorite Disney Channel shows- Dog With a Blog and Jessie.  My girls saw my pictures and think they have a pretty cool mom.
stars of Dog With a Blog and JessieTaking pictures with the stars above put my pretty high on my girls’ cool meter but want to know what really topped it?
BELLA THORNE from Shake It Up!  Ironically last week when I went to Chicago for BlogHer my girls asked if I would be seeing Shake It Up Chicago and meeting Rocky and CeCe.  Who would have known that I would have gone to LA and actually meet Bella Thorne who plays CeCe on Shake It Up?  She was sweet enough to take a picture with me.
Taking a picture with so many of my girls’ favorite Disney stars was pretty exciting but that’s not really what put me on the top of the cool mom chart for my girls.  I called and video chatted with them for a bit from the premiere party when Bella Thorne was right behind me and as we chatted Bella waved to them.  One of their favorite stars actually was able to see them on my cell and wave to them.  I don’t think any of us will ever forget that moment.  It was so great to be able to share the excitement with my girls even if they were across the country.

It is amazing just how many stars were at the premiere- Jason Priestly, Ian Ziering, Hillary Duff, Anthony Edwards,  Kevin Nealon,  Brooke Burke-Charvet, Dane Cook, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Stacy Keach, Cedric The Entertainer, Alyssa Milano, and so many more!  This was certainly a night I will never forget!  I will be posting my review of the Disney’s Planes movie on Friday so check back then!


Disney’s PLANES opens in theaters THIS FRIDAY- August 9th, 2013!


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I’m Going To LA For The Disney Planes Premiere and Little Mermaid Event! #DisneyPlanesPremiere #LittleMermaidEvent

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I am so excited to share with you that I will be flying to LA on Sunday August 4th to be a part of the Disney Planes Premiere and Little Mermaid Event.  My girls and I are HUGE Little Mermaid fans so this trip is extra exciting for me.  I just have to make sure they don’t try to hide in my suitcase to come with me.
planes collage2

This is going to be a fun filled 2 1/2 day whirlwind of a trip.  We get to attend the red carpet premiere of Planes, interview the voice of The Little Mermaid- Jodie Benson, see a 20 preview of Disney’s upcoming movie, Frozen, and have a meet and greet with the puppies from Super Buddies.  Check out our schedule:

Sunday, August 4th 

  • Travel to Los Angeles and check-in to our hotel.
  • Disney Consumer Products LITTLE MERMAID Showcase dinner

Monday, August 5th

  • Visit the Animation Research Library for a look at THE LITTLE MERMAID archived materials and a Q&A with the lead archivists
  • Preview bonus content from THE LITTLE MERMAID and sit down for Q&As with Jodie Benson, THE voice of “Ariel”, John Musker and Ron Clements, Writers and Directors
  • Attend the red carpet premiere of PLANES at the El Capitan Theatre- YES, we will get to walk the red carpet!  I can’t wait!

Tuesday, August 6th

  • Preview 20 minutes of the upcoming theatrical release FROZEN (in theatres November 27th) including a Q&A with filmmakers
  • Meet and Greet with some of the stars of SUPER BUDDIES, the newest film in the Buddies franchise

You can follow along with our trip with #DisneyPlanesPremiere and #LittleMermaidEvent.
Disney’s Planes flies into theaters on August 9th!

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