Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Say “YES” to the honeymoon

As the late Elvis warned in his hit song “It’s Now or Never”. As I look back over 16 years of marriage and 3 kids I can assure you nothing could be truer. If you don’t take a honeymoon with in the first year of marriage ideally the first month you will find that life gets in the way. You will find that you can’t find the time or the money to justify this right of passage.

You are only newlyweds for a short time. Take this opportunity to revel in the freedom you have during your special time when you are madly in love with each other. The memories you will make during this special trip will be your life preserver you hold on to when the storms of life threaten your union. In addition by making it a priority to take a honeymoon you are telling your spouse they are worth it. It also gets your marriage off on the right foot and sets the standard for the future. By intentionally taking a break from the dizzying deadlines and schedules that a wedding sometimes demands you will appreciate this important opportunity to remember why you said “I DO”. Building this skill early on will create a pattern of putting your marriage first which will serve you well.
You have one shot make it count. When deciding on a honeymoon this is not the time to skimp. While it doesn’t have to land you in the poor house decide what your budget is. If you dream of Hawaii but can only afford Mexico, make it the best Mexico experience your budget affords. This may mean a five night getaway with a butler vs. 10 nights in a standard room. Don’t be that guy who cuts corners by saying, “Just eat a big breakfast, skip lunch and we can share dinner”. This vacation style or attitude does not leave room for romance.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Packing Like a Pro with Jen Maki

Many people overlook important details when it comes to packing for their trip. Let’s start with some of the most obvious, travel documents. These have your confirmation numbers and detailed info regarding transfers tours and other special details of your trip. Passports or ID’s for domestic travel are necessary if traveling by air. It is my worst nightmare to leave for the airport and have forgotten my passport at home and it should be yours as well. Put preventative measures in place to ensure you don’t miss your flight because your passport is at home. Set reminder alarms, put notes in your car or sleep with it if you have to.

In your carry on you will need to follow the 3-1-1 rule implemented by TSA. Any liquids, gels, or aerosols need to be 3 oz or less. If you have a 6 oz bottle of perfume that is half empty be prepared to hand it over to TSA. Put all of your liquids in a clear ziploc bag and leave it on top. This way it will be easy to grab and pull out of your suitcase for the security checkpoint. Medicines should also be packed in your carry on. in the unfortunate event that the airline lost your bag you may be without clothes but you won’t be without your medication. It’s not a bad idea to also bring copies of your prescriptions. Don’t forget the charging cords. With all of the memories you will capture through pictures and video you are sure to need to recharge.

In your suitcase get creative. Nest smaller bags inside so you can bring your treasures home in the extra bags you have packed. Often overlooked when traveling to a tropical climate is humidity. This can wreak havoc on overweight baggage since the humidity is sucked up into your clothes your bring home heavier bags. The airlines are not forgiving when it comes to overweight bags. you are better off separating into more bags rather than paying overweight fees. As far as clothing goes pack for your destination. Consider what you will be doing. Do you have plans to go out to a nice dinner? How about horseback riding in the ocean? Care to climb a waterfall? All of these require a unique dress code. For men don’t forget long pants and a collared shirt for dinner. Adventurous activities require longer pants and at a minimum closed toed shoes. I once missed an opportunity to meet Tony Stewart at a Nascar race because I did not have closed toed shoes; the required shoes to be allowed in the pits.

Last but not least don’t forget your sense of humor. They say “The world is a book and those who don’t travel read only a page” whether your book is a documentary or resembles more of reality show having a sense of humor will make the ride smoother.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Pack For a Purpose W/ Jen Maki

Did you know outside the golden gates of your all inclusive luxury resort resides a whole other world of it’s own. This year consider giving back to this neighboring community with simple and inexpensive ideas that will be appreciated more than you can imagine.

Carry on bags fly free so instead of packing just for yourself fill them with supplies that could bless those who live where you will vacation.Gather coloring books and crayons from the dollar store school supplies or even simple hygiene products are inexpensive and synonymous across cultures. You can deliver these yourself to the schools or community or ask your maid if she could pass them on for you.

Another fun way to pack for a purpose is packing out grown kid clothes. Instead of dropping these off at drop boxes around town gather them up and deliver them to a family in need. They won’t care if it’s not their color or their sports team they will simply be grateful to have something new. “As they say one mans trash is another mans treasure”.

Do you end up buying a new wardrobe for vacation? If so why not pack last years vacation wardrobe and wear it one last time literally. Although dramatic this idea not only reduces clutter in your closet at the same time it fills someone elses closet and you can fly home with a suitcase full of local treasures verses dirty laundry.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Have you considered a vacation for the purpose of a proposal? With Jen Maki

When planning your vacation consider the location. For example if you only have a long weekend to escape how easy is it to get there? Jet setting to Bora bora from Minneapolis doesn’t make much sense, but within 3 or 4 hours you could find yourself in a number of tropical locations throughout the Caribbean. Is there someplace that you two have always wanted to go? Now may be the perfect time to go. 

Maybe you saw something on a movie or it has always been a dream, why not check it out for your proposal it may just be a great honeymoon spot as well. Do you as a couple have a location that is sentimental to you? For example did you meet in the windy city or have your first date at a Twins game? Why not go back there to recreate the magic and pop the question at the same time? How cool would it be to be featured on the kissing cam? The sky's the limit when you think about where in the world you would like to propose or you could be like this guy in the video below that had an epic proposal that took 4 years and 26 countries! Enjoy!

Click here to schedule your complimentary planning session and Jen and Divine Destinations team can make your dream of proposing on vacation a reality.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Anniversary Trips? But I Told Her I Loved Her When We Got Married! With Jen Maki

Dr Dobson once recalled a time in his marriage when he didn’t understand the point of saying “I love you” to his spouse, Shirley.  In his mind, he reasoned that he told her he loved her when they got married, why did he have to continue telling her? Sometimes that’s how Anniversaries work too.  Why do we need to celebrate the fact we made it when 52% of Americans don’t, let alone jet set to a destination to celebrate when we already took a Honeymoon once upon a time?  I’m so glad you asked!

An Anniversary trip can rekindle the romance that may have gone cold over time.  It also can spark a sense of renewal of your relationship and give you hope that the best is yet to come.  Sometimes couples can find new hobbies to try on vacation that carries over to a lifestyle change.  Think about the unlimited greens fees at the resort and the opportunity to take a golf lesson or two for free.  What a great way to decide if you want to continue this back home without shelling out tons of cash upfront.  Yoga on the beach? Yes please.  Reflection and meditation can bring you back to your roots and in this case, back to why you first committed to each other.  Priceless.  Allow me to sprinkle a few special surprises in your trip as well.  Have an idea of your own, be sure to share with me so I can ensure it is perfectly executed on property.  These are a few ideas of how you can reconnect and keep your love alive.

You have so much to be thankful in the land where the divorce rate is so high.  You have a cherished gift, one that should be celebrated and there’s no better way to celebrate your love than through a memorable vacation that will yield treasured memories for years to come.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

All all-inclusives are NOT created equal! With Jen Maki

What is the definition of an all inclusive? Typically, it means that you have your food and beverages, even alcohol included for one package price.  Some resorts go a bit further and include water sports while others include nightly entertainment.  The most inclusive of them all will include everything listed above and then including taxes.  And then there's SANDALS & BEACHES!

Sandals & Beaches are the most inclusive in the all inclusive arena offering MORE inclusions than any resort on the PLANET!  Not only do they offer MORE, but the MORE that they offer are high quality, luxury inclusions.  In what ways?  I'm so glad you asked!

Accommodations: The accommodations are larger offering Serta sleeper beds and the most delicious pillows you ever set your head on.  The luxurious in room toiletries, branded Red Lane Spa, and the soft robes and slippers go hand in hand like chocolate and Blue Mountain coffee, which you will also find in your room and brewed throughout the resort.

Food: With as many as 19 restaurants to chose from per resort, the only question will be, "what's for dinner?".  The Signature Discovery Dining program allows you to dine around the world quite literally.  Sandals employs an Executive Chef who is native for that cuisine. For example, if you are craving true Thai food, rest assured, Apple straight from Thailand, will have trained the cooks how to prepare authentic entrees and all at no additional charge.  My personal favorite is Febrezio, Executive Chef at Marios in La Toc.  Not only is he a handsome young gent from Italy, he's a heck of a chef as well!

Beverages: They say at Sandals, "Jimmy, Johnny, Jack and all their friends are here!"  Wine lover? Beringer flows 24/7. Prefer the nonalcoholic approach? Here you will find the freshest smoothies, juices and even a self serve unlimited ice cream station.  My favorite part about Sandals & Beaches is the simple fact that they all are located in regions where water is at it's purist right from the tap!  Prefer a bottle, no worries, it's all included.

Water sports: Did you know that some resorts offer water sports such as SCUBA diving but actually charge for it?  Others even charge a fee to rescue you!  The highly trained staff not only will show you how to use the equipment properly, they will also keep an eye on you to be sure you are fully enjoying yourself and won't need to be rescued.  As far as SCUBA diving goes, they own their own Newton Dive boats, the best in  the industry, and offer you up to two dives daily.  This isn't only for the big fish either, small fish as young as 8 years old can partake as well.  Water slides or lazy rivers more your style? They have those too.  Snorkel, paddle board, waterskiing, Hobie Cats and more are also all a part of the all inclusive package price.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Global Entry in Action With Jen Maki

After traveling thousands of miles and standing in lines for hours this past year, I have finally had the opportunity to use my Global Entry pass!  While not beneficial for domestic travel, it can virtually eliminate any fears you may have of Customs agents, long lines and ultimately, missed connections!  At only $20 a year it's the best investment I've made when it comes to travel (aside from my ZAGG keyboard which allows me to continue talking even at 10,000 feet!) Today I deplaned in San Juan and when I went through Customs, there was my entire flight in line waiting while I sauntered to the Global Entry line in true diva style! There was no one else there which meant no waiting; I was through customs in under five minutes!  Compare that to Miami last March where I spent almost three hours waiting in line!

Next stop: TSA.  You know what they say , "You can't see London, you can't see France until TSA sees your underpants!!" Well, one of the benefits of being a trusted traveler is to have a bright green check mark on the top of your boarding pass that signifies you are a goody two shoes.  With this stamp of approval, you get a designated TSA security line which again, I had all to myself.  This not only made it more comfortable, but I also didn't have to completely disrobe or go through the "pat down" process.  The only offense was to have my hands swabbed.  Within 30 seconds the machine told the agent I was clean, so off I went into the sunset of Concorse A to board my oversold flight!

Do you have Global Entry? What are you waiting for? If you have it, what do you like most about it?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Global Entry With Top Travel Agent Jen Maki

With a click of the mouse and $100 later, I had applied for Global Entry.  Within two weeks I was notified via email that my application had been accepted and I was invited to set up an appointment to have a face to face interview to finalize the process.  As I looked over the upcoming four months on the calendar, I tried to find the most convenient time that would work for the appointment since I needed to do it at the MSP airport, or any other Global Entry offices around the USA.  Even though my calendar showed I'd be traveling through Charlotte, Ft Lauderdale, Dallas, Miami and Detroit, there were no appointments that were available for me to coordinate with.  So, I made a special visit to MSP when I wasn't traveling and made it a special Mother Daughter weekend instead.  

The airport was eerily quiet for a Friday, however, that was to my advantage; easy in easy out and what I like to call "rock star parking"!!  I was armed with my passport, drivers license and invitation letter.  Unbeknownst to me, they were armed with my background check, rap sheet and soon my full set of fingerprints, which by the way, when he did so, complimented me on my large turtle gemstone ring.  Some call this Big Brother at its finest, I call it simplicity, and heck, when he notices my jewelry to the positive, he's golden in my opinion. Officer Wille, who was still wet behind the ears, successfully butchered my married name, maiden name and city of residence all while being so dang cute at the same time.  He said it didn't matter, what did matter was why I was there.  Next came the questions.  Simple for me, because I'm 'that girl' who would be labeled as "don't drink, don't smoke, what do you do"; I was going to refer to that song but was positive Officer Wille wouldn't be familiar with such an "oldie".  Within five minutes the interview portion was done and the remainder of the appointment would be going over the features and benefits of Global Entry.  This is  strategically stalling for the computer to tell him whether I was approved or not.  Since I was given the green light, he then proceeded to show me how the kiosk worked and and I was off for my weekend of girl time.  

So what are the features and benefits of Global Entry? Let me count the ways:

1. Fast Pass Through Customs and Immigrations
Where what has taken me up to THREE HOURS standing in lines upon my return to US soil, other Global Entry card carrying members have sprinted through in under THREE MINUTES! 'Nuff said!

2. Eliminate the Need to Carry a Drivers License
Who likes everyone to see how much you weigh or how tall you are? Wait, you don't really tell the truth on those, do you?  My fitness goal is to actually weigh what I told the DMV I do.

3. Qualify for TSA Precheck
Although altogether separate programs, they are like peanut butter and chocolate or Nutella and  a spoon!  Not only do you qualify for the line where you don't have to disrobe down to nakedness aka: no sparkly jewelry, belts or light jackets, you also can keep your espadrilles on,  iPads in the bag and simply toss your iPhone and loose coins into the pastel bowl and walk through the line!  Did I mention that there are usually only pilots, crew members and frequent travelers in this line?  Therefore, it is a swift pace sans strollers or novice travelers.

Ready to take the plunge?  Apply now and let me know how much happier you are upon your return to US soil.  No more hang ups, hassles or missed connections!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

5 Reasons to Call a Travel Agent For Your Next Vacation W/ Jen Maki

So many times I'm asked, "Do people still use a travel agent?" with a tone in their voice like we're talking about a rotary phone or an 8 track player. No, travel agents aren't dead, however, like everything, some are better than others. In addition, some people still like to DIY, however, this short list will help you decide if working with a travel agent is for you.

Saves Time: Did you know that the average person who books online has spent about 5 hours in research alone? Why waste five hours researching only to end up full of self doubt wondering if you really got the best vacation you were looking for? We all have busy lives and most of us would agree we don't have enough hours in a day already. Do what you do best and hire the rest!

Expertise: I understand it's fun to look at all the options at first, however, anyone can make a picture look good. Have you actually been there to know if that resort is really beach front, or has the photo been edited and truly, the resort is across the street from a heavily populated public beach? I have personally traveled to over 14 countries in the past three years. Chances are, I've been there, seen that, ate that, touched that, experienced that. 14 stamps can't be wrong.

Real Person: This is my favorite. Although the dot com travel agencies have a call center, it's likely "Irene from Detroit with the heavy Indian accent" is not really in Detroit, nor is her name Irene, in fact, she's probably never been to the any of the destinations you are calling about nor can she understand you any better than you can understand her. My clients have access to me 24/7 while traveling in addition to another 800# in case I'm not available. Never will they be stranded, even in the brutal Midwest winters, Volcanic Ash clouds or aboard a defective cruise ship.

They think of the whole package: A great travel agent will encompass much more than just the plane tickets; they will design your entire experience. This doesn't mean you have to book all of these experiences, but how would you know the difference, if they never offered it. You don't fly to Jamaica and stand in line with the hundreds of other people who don't know any better. Instead, you arrive like the VIP you are!

Saves You Money: Did you know that travel agents still have the best deals? It's true. We also know the ins and outs that will save you money. Some agents charge a fee for their Time, Expertise, Human Factor and Total Package. And why not? If at the end of the day they save you time, money and hassle of trying to DIY, they should! Did you know that at Divine Destinations we will gladly price match ANY package you find online and give you a $50 credit towards your next vacation? It's true!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

What should I pack for an Alaskan vacation?

with Jen Maki from Divine Destinations

Think layers:  The best defense against unpredictable Alaskan weather is layers. Layers are more comfy and versatile verses wearing a parka on the 8 am tour and wrangling the parka in your arms at noon. Smart Wool, Gore-tex and microfiber fabrics are among the top rated layering pieces.    

Backpack: Ditch the purse sport a backpack. You will need a place to stow your layers as the temperatures climb or plummet depending on your location and time of day. In your pack you should also bring necessities like a camera, binoculars, and bottled water.

Comfy shoes: It goes without saying Alaska is one of the largest states and if you’re going to explore it is best done in comfy shoes. Supportive flat or low profile shoes are the best. Across between a hiker and loafer are the most versatile.

One formal outfit:  If you're on a 7 night Alaskan cruise you can expect 2 nights to be formal nights. If you chose to participate you will be expected to dress up. For men that means a minimum of a sport coat and button down shirt. And for women a cocktail dress is perfect.

Umbrella/Poncho:  Not necessary but recommended. Why? Murphys Law. I’ve seen $3 umbrellas suddenly switch to $20 umbrellas the minute a rain cloud threatened our daily activities. If you have your backpack it is not a hassle to add an umbrella. This isn’t something I commonly do therefore I have a colorful collection of over priced umbrellas from around the world. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Book Early: The Insider's Guide to Getting the Best Value Out Of Your Vacation Dollars

Best Selection: Just like when shopping for groceries, it’s best to do it early in the morning AND early in the week for best selection.  By waiting until the produce has been on the market for the entire week, you will have less to choose from since all the smart shoppers were there days ago.   Don’t want to choose between bruised peaches or really bruised peaches?   There is something to be said about the fact the Early Bird Gets the Worm.

Best Prices: You will already be getting the best prices simply by hiring a travel agent, that’s a no brainer.  However, did you know the best prices are released about 11 months in advance and commonly referred to as Early Booking Savings rates?  Whether it’s a cruise or a resort, the best prices are generally released first.  As the inventory goes down, the prices go up: Simply put, it’s the law of Supply & Demand.

Less Stressful: Have you ever had to try and find a gift last minute?  How about stocking stuffers during the 11th hour?  It’s very stressful and many times we feel like we've had to “settle”.  Never settle on your vacation!  Enlist the experts to research and recommend the perfect getaway for you by drawing on their experience and firsthand knowledge.  Not sure if passports are needed?  Do they speak English where you are going?  What about currency or customs?  Don’t sweat it!  If you've hired a professional, it’s all covered and you will be traveling stress free with all the details handled.

Price Protection: Ever bought something to find it went on sale after the fact?  FRUSTRATING!  What isn't frustrating is knowing that if you have purchased your dream vacation package and then it goes on sale afterwards, you will be refunded the difference before the final payment has been made.  After the final payment it’s not likely to go down, however, if you have purchased travel insurance, chances are the difference will still be covered.  

Peace of Mind: Always include travel insurance in your package!  Why?  It covers you for the unexpected!  Insert any of these words after UNEXPECTED:
Pregnancy , death in the family, accident on the way to the airport, weather delays, lost luggage, stolen passports, trip to the ER in the DR.  These are all real examples of some perils my clients have encountered this past year and all reasons for you to have travel insurance.  In my opinion, it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind!

Ready to plan your next Divine Destination? Click here to get started!  You can be confident in knowing when you enlist the help of an expert at Divine Destinations, your vacation will be designed with thoughtfulness, hassle free and unexpected delights throughout.  What are you waiting for?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Six Sexy Ways To Spark Your Spouse!

Six Sexy Ways To Spark Your Spouse!
With Jen Maki

What is it with having the word “Sex” in a headline that sparks everyones interest? Well I guess it doesn’t matter you're here now. So let me share 6 sexy ways to spark the romance between you and your spouse. Whether you need a spark or whole damn bonfire!

Do it* on a cruise! A cruise is a great way to see lots of places on one trip. This is a way for you to sample an island or country before committing to a full week in the same place. On a cruise you unpack once and this floating resort magically moves from destination to destination without hassle. A balcony proves to be a romantic retreat at your own private table for to enjoy a glass of wine together.

Do it* on a safari! A safari is a way to get up close and personal with the big 5. In these unique guided experiences you get to see and experience things most people only dream about. For me it’s on my bucket list! Can you imagine a more perfect place to be one with nature and your spouse?  

Do it* through a cultural immersion experience! These immersions are exciting and slightly scary all at the same time. Simply because you are exploring something completely foreign together. What I love about these trips is there are no expectations. Especially when it comes to learning the Austrian Apple Armpit Dance.

Do it* on a tank full! This is the cheapest way to get a quicky in. No seriously think of the hidden treasures within 200 miles of where you live. Stay in a B&B discover hole in the wall restaurants and best kept secrets of that city or town. Save these gems for your quarterly time outs and remember these make great gifts as well.

Do it* adventurously! Tired of the same old routine? Nothing can break you from a rut faster than learning a new skill together. Have an open mind, try new things and ultimately build trust with your spouse. Of course I’m referring to kayaking; what were you thinking?
Do it* for your health and wellness! Have you gotten a little fluffy since you walked down the aisle? Marriage tends to do that. Life gets busy and we become complacent. Learn to take care of yourself through fitness, relaxing and meditation. During your couples massage ask the masseuse how to give a epic back rub. Incorporate candles essential oils and the rest will fall into place.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

5 Reasons Smart Couples Say YES to a Destination Wedding

Affordable Did you know the average wedding cost $29,858 according to CNN Money.  Compare that to the average Destination Wedding at $8k overseas! Cha-Ching!

(Searching for that down payment on your mortgage?  I just found it for you!  You’re welcome.)  Those couples who are on a tight budget and considering keeping the celebration low key to keep costs down should seriously consider a Destination Wedding!  With all the inclusions that come along with a six night stay or longer at most resorts, it’s really a no brainer.  Brides love how they can totally customize their wedding yet still be budget friendly.

Simple The simplicity of planning a Destination Wedding is rarely spoken about.  I get the feeling it’s some sort of rite of passage – if you didn't pour your heart & soul into planning every single detail of your big day, you’re really not in love.  Poo Poo.   Imagine having your own personal Pre-Wedding Travel Planner who is working behind the scenes to ensure your day is perfect before you even arrive.  Then, once you are in destination you then are introduced to your in house Wedding Concierge.  Did I mention there is no cost for this?  That’s right; it’s all included at most resorts, especially here.  I once had a bride who said she felt bad because she didn't get stressed out about the details like her sister and other friends had before her.  The difference? She had a Destination Wedding and all the details were taken care of her!
Unique Have you ever looked through the local marriage announcements or even the wedding magazine and seen the same scenery over and over, just a different couple featured?  Not to downplay or insult the gorgeous venues we have locally, but there comes a time where you just may want to go where others have not gone before you.  A Destination Wedding accomplishes this!  Imagine instead of a dollar dance at the reception you have a fire dancer instead.  Want to forgo the unity candle and do a sand ceremony instead?  It makes more sense to do this on a beach than in the church.  Working closely with your travel agent and PreWedding Travel Planner will ensure your wildest dreams are fulfilled and your style is highlighted throughout your wedding.

Crowd Control There is no better way to ensure crowd control like flying halfway across the country or world to say “I Do”.  Many couples cringe at the idea of having to trim a guest list.  Instead, invite them all and let the guests decide to stay or go.  The average group is 40, however, we've planned over 100 and we did it seamlessly.  Those who decide to forego the wedding will certainly be at the reception you hold post nuptials and you can always play the video there.

Memorable Let’s be brutally honest, shall we?  Tell me what you remembered from all the weddings you've attended in the past?  Hot stuffy church, bad weather, temperamental flower girl, Uncle Joe sneaking vodka all day; oh wait, that was MY wedding. Just kidding, but we have been to *that wedding, right?  My point is, what was so memorable? And really, are these memories you want YOUR guests to have, let alone you?  Let's remember the fact you rented the entire private island for your guests only or the sail away catamaran cruise the day after!  If you want amazing memories, it starts with an amazing plan.

Ready to take the next step?  Click here to get started planning your Happily Ever After, you’ll be glad you did!

Friday, May 15, 2015

38 Secrets Everyone Should Know Before Going to Disney World

38 Things You Might Not Know About Walt Disney World

Magic Kingdom
There are probably several Hidden Mickeys between this point and Cinderella Castle.
1.  When dining at the Be Our Guest restaurant, you can remember one of Lumiere’s lines and order “the gray stuff” for dessert – it really is delicious!
2.  Opening times listed for the parks aren't always exactly accurate – guests are often let through the gates as early as 15 minutes beforehand. All the more reason to get there early!
3.  There are no lost children at Disney – instead, you’ll hear about lost parents. Calling a scared kid “lost” just makes them more afraid they’ll be in trouble, so Cast Members shift the “blame” to the parents.
4.  Cinderella Castle is an impressive 180 feet tall – Walt wanted it big so any guests who got lost could easily find their way back to a central location. Thanks to a clever trick called “forced perspective,” it looks like it’s a whopping 300 feet!
Epcot5.  The reverse is true in Epcot – the large building in the U.S. pavilion, the American Adventure, is actually five stories tall, but reverse forced perspective makes it look only three. If it were as short as it looks, you’d never be able to see it from across the lagoon. Want to check? Send the tallest member of your group to stand next to the doors – they’ll still be dwarfed in comparison.
6.  Also in Epcot, when you’re standing in front of the Mexican pavilion, take a look at Morocco across the lagoon. There’s one building behind the others that appears to blend in seamlessly, but is actually the top of the Tower of Terror – in a completely different park! During its construction, Imagineers realized the Tower would be visible from Epcot, so they intentionally camouflaged it.
7.  Walt originally intended for Epcot to be a functioning community, where new city planning concepts could be tried out. After his death, it became a park instead, but the plan lives on in its name, which stands for Experimental Prototype Community OTomorrow.
8.  Speaking of Walt, if you've seen Saving Mr. Banks, you know he wanted everyone working for him to go by their first names – that’s why all Cast Member name tags have just a first name on them – not even a last initial.
Fireworks at the Magic Kingdom9.  Walt Disney World is the second largest purchaser of explosives in the United States – only the U.S. military comes in ahead of them.
10.  OK, you probably know about the tunnel network under Magic Kingdom, called the Utilidor system. What you might not know is that because you can’t dig underground in sea-level Florida, the tunnels are actually at ground level and the park itself is on the “second floor!”
11.  It would take you 68 years to spend one night in each hotel room in Disney World.
12.  That doesn't count the hidden Cinderella Suite inside of Cinderella Castle – which you can’t book. You can only get it by winning a contest. (It was originally supposed to be an apartment for Walt.)
13.  Ever noticed a lot of gum stuck around the parks? No? Oh yeah, that’s because they don’t sell it on property, in order to keep the parks clean. They’re crafty that way.
14.  There are a lot of garbage cans at Disney – you can find them as frequently as every 30 steps. There are two stories about this. One is that Walt went to other parks and counted how long someone would hold on to garbage before just dropping it. Our preferred version is that he counted how many steps it took him to eat a hot dog and based it on that.
15.  Any time you see a phone in the parks, pick it up and see what you hear – there are still a couple of functioning pay phones, but sometimes you can listen in on some interesting conversations!
16.  Behind Cinderella Castle is a fountain with a statue of Cinderella. From adult height, she looks sad, but looking from the height of a child, she appears to be smiling and the crown on the wall behind her rests on top of her head.
17.  Stick around Magic Kingdom for about 30 minutes after the park closes for a special “Kiss Goodnight” from the castle – don’t worry, you won’t be breaking any rules.
18.  In Epcot, some of the sidewalks twinkle at night – they’re easy to spot on the way out after the fireworks.
19.  You can find Belle’s library in the French pavilion, along with a number of references to classic Disney stories.
20.  If you feel like being a little mischievous, get someone in your party to sample the “Beverly” Coca-Cola flavor at Club Cool. All the flavors are free, so there won’t be any buyer’s remorse – though there could be some tasters’ regret!
21.  The aquarium at Epcot’s Living Seas Pavilion is so large that Spaceship Earth could fit inside it with room to spare.
22.  After you get your glasses for Muppet Vision at Hollywood Studios, look for the sign that someone is “out to lunch – the key is under the mat.” Look down and you will indeed see a mat with a key under it!
Rock n Roller Coaster
Credit: Tatiana McGrath
23.  On Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, keep an ear on the music – if you start hearing “Love in an Elevator,” don’t be surprised if the words change to “Love in a Roller Coaster!”
24.  On signs for Animal Kingdom, you can see a dragon among the animals on the bottom. It’s all that remains of early plans for a “Beastly Kingdom,” which would have represented mythical creatures.
25.  The Yeti in Expedition Everest originally moved, but broke down early in the ride’s operation. It is now stationary, but strobe lights make it appear to move during the ride.
26.  Animal Kingdom’s Tree of Life has approximately 320 animals carved into it, but the Chimpanzee was almost left out, until a visit from Jane Goodall prompted designers to add one.
27.  The highest possible score in Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin is 999,999, which will qualify you as a “Galactic Hero.”
28.  There are three places in the United States where you can find an official presidential seal – the Oval Office, the hall of the Liberty Bell, and Magic Kingdom’s Hall of Presidents. Walt Disney had to get special permission from Congress to put it there.
29.  Disney bought a real plane to put in the Casablanca scene of the Great Movie Ride – only the first half is there, though! The rest of the plane is on the Jungle Cruise ride.
30.  The lake that holds Fantasmic is only about a foot and a half deep.
31.  No Cast Member will ever point out a direction with a single finger, as this is considered rude.
32.  Disney World was evacuated in 30 minutes on Sept. 11, 2001, because of fears it could become a target. Dedicated Cast Members worked through the night to put up the Fourth of July decorations for the following day so the park could reopen with a feeling of solidarity and patriotism.
33.  Don’t get too close to the camel outside Aladdin’s Magic Carpet ride, or you might get “spit” on! It seems random, but there’s a Cast Member nearby who takes the shots.
34.  The Mission: SPACE ride at Epcot requires more computer power than the actual space shuttle – though notably less fuel.
Haunted Mansion35.  While waiting in line for the Haunted Mansion, you may see a wedding ring embedded in the concrete. It’s said to belong to one of the ghosts inside – we think you’ll know her when you see her.
36.  Don’t feel like buying a PhotoPass? No worries – the park photographers will take pictures with your personal camera or phone.
37.  If you’re ever in line for the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular and see a sign warning you not to pull or open something – go ahead and do it.
38.  There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of Hidden Mickeys throughout the parks – you know it, we know it, everyone knows it. But they've never been confirmed to exist, and there’s no way of knowing exactly how many there are.
What’s your favorite Disney World secret?