TSA Cares Program

I love how fast flying gets me to my destination so I can start my vacation, but I am not a fan of the airport.  I completely understand the necessity of the screening process but still feel overwhelmed by it, no matter how many times I travel.  Every airport seems to have its own way of doing their screenings too, which causes real confusion! 

TSA Precheck sign.jpg

Now imagine you have a medical condition that makes going through the security checkpoint a very difficult process.  My son, Mike, is on the autism spectrum and has type 1 diabetes.  He wears a wireless insulin pump that uses Bluetooth technology and carries back-up syringes.  He is supposed to avoid scanners as they can interfere with the pump's programming and he always gets his bag pulled for the supplies in them.  This causes him severe stress and anxiety as he waits in line because he knows this will happen.  By the time we get to the agent he can't even verbalize his needs and can be inconsolable. 

I had recently heard the TSA Cares program can help travelers with disabilities and medical conditions navigate the system so my family decided to try it on our most recent vacation to Florida.  It really helped our family get through the anxiety of the screening process at the airports with ease.  The Support Specialists were kind yet efficient, and took the time to explain step-by-step what we needed to do.

Three days before our departure I called TSA's toll free helpline at 1-855-787-2227 and spoke to Jeanette.  She was very friendly and patient with my questions.  She took my flight information and put it in the system.  She asked what accommodations we would need and made note of each of them.  She asked clarifying and relevant follow up questions.  Her knowledge of the process and the special needs of my family really helped put my mind at ease.  She sent me an email confirmation outlining how the program would work for my family.  Jeanette further explained that each airport handles the support program differently and that some would contact us in advance and some would not.  It is also only available in US airports.  She also directed me to their website to download and print out a card I could use at any airport for assistance, even if I couldn't call in advance.

                     Mike's TSA Notification Card

                     Mike's TSA Notification Card

Within 24 hours I received a call from PIT (Pittsburgh International) airport support.  They gave me a number to call once I checked in for my flight.  When we arrived and called the number, a TSA Support Specialist met my family at Arch (the giant mechanical statue).  He went through the entire process of how the screening would go.  They would not separate us for the screening.  He confirmed the special services we needed and walked through security with us, talking to us the entire time about next steps.  He even sat with my son Mike after the screening and chatted about our vacation while Mike put his shoes on and got re-organized.

                                                    Mike loves Arch!

                                                    Mike loves Arch!

For our return flight out of MCO (Orlando International) we hadn't heard from anyone prior to our arrival at the airport.  I used the TSA Card Jeanette had recommended and showed it to the first TSA officer I saw.  She had our family stand to the side while she called a Support Specialist, who arrived to meet with us in just a few minutes.  The Support Specialist explained to Mike every step of the process and stayed with us through the line and screening.  When Mike started to get to the private pat-down screening he started to get very agitated with his eyes darting between me and the Support Specialist.  She must have picked up on it and said there was a male officer that would handle it and that we were all allowed to stay together through all of security.

When we reached the gate area I found I had missed a call from MCO's TSA Support team.  They had called 2 hours before my flight to make arrangements.  They must have called while we were going through security.

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The TSA cares program really helped my family make it through security this trip without Mike freaking out or melting down.  It was one of the smoothest TSA screenings we have had with him in all the times we have traveled.  If you have someone with special needs or a medical device, I recommend this services.

You can find more information on the TSA website HERE and get the TSA Notification Card HERE

 

Viking Cruises Rhine River Getaway!

Check out this amazing offer by Viking Cruises for their Rhine River Getaway! Select November 2018 sailings are offering discounts on both air and sail fares.  

During this 8 day excursion, you will be able to explore Germany's medieval castles (including Heidelberg Castle!) & Black Forest, enjoy a cuckoo clock making demonstration, meander alongside canals and visit museums and windmill villages in Amsterdam, sip vino in one of Germany's or France's wine making regions, visit cathedrals as part of UNESCO World Heritage Sites & more.

All on-board food & drinks, guided tours & excursions, port fees and taxes & transfers are included plus, air from select cities is just $295 per person round trip! There are options to add pre & post cruise nights in Edinburgh, Lucerne, Zermatt and more as well!

 

Viking longships have 4 gorgeous decks consisting of staterooms, restaurants & lounges, a sun deck and even an organic garden. Relax and take in the scenery while you cruise down the Rhine! Email your Upon A Star agent for details today!

Grand Avenue: Coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios

Disney’s Hollywood Studios® is going through some major changes with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land. But we just found out there will be a bit more! Muppets Courtyard, along with a portion of the former Streets of America, is being re-imagined by Walt Disney Imagineering to become a new area called Grand Avenue. Inspired by present day Los Angeles, Grand Avenue is where vintage office buildings and warehouses are being converted into fun and exciting new uses. New spaces for “shops” should soon be popping up in this area! Each window on the street will charming displays to look at.  One of the highlights of Grand Avenue will be BaseLine Tap House, a new corner pub that will feature California beers and wines along with small bites. 

Muppets Courtyard will become Grand Park, an urban square off Grand Avenue. Close by will be PizzeRizzo and Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano.  If you haven't notice changes have already begun. The Muppets theater has been renamed “Grand Arts Theatre” and has a brand-new marquee. Muppet*Vision 3D will be sticking around to keep you laughing as well! Grand Avenue is expected to open up to guests this Fall. We are so excited about all of the new changes coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios®  how about you?

Want a truly magical vacation? Let our experts help you plan! Contact us here today!

 

 

Minnie Van service at Walt Disney World Resort

It was announced earlier this month at D23 Expo 2017 and now it is a reality! Guests staying at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort and Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts can now can arrange their own private Disney vehicle right from the Lyft app on their smartphone. Once the transportation has ben scheduled a Disney Cast Member will arrive and whisk you anywhere on Walt Disney World property!

The new Minnie Van service fits up to 6 passengers with 2 car seats for even the smallest Disney fans! The service will run from 6:30 a.m. and 12:30 a.m. (subject to change). Guests staying at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort and Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts can learn more by visiting their Bell Services desk.

Can't wait till it's rolled out to all of the resorts!

Want info on booking a magical vacation? 

Contact our experts today!

 

AM Resorts Christmas in July Sale!

Check out this limited ,week long Christmas in July sale from AM Resorts!

Book from July 25, 2017 through July 31, 2017 and save some $$! Rates starting at $174.00  USD per person, per night! Travel dates must be from December 23, 2017 through January 1, 2018.

Available at the following resorts:

  • Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya
  • Secrets Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort
  • Secrets Huatulco Resort & Spa
  • Breathless Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa
  • Breathless Montego Bay Resort & Spa
  • Breathless Punta Cana Resort & Spa
  • Breathless Cabo San Lucas Resort & Spa
  • Dreams Dominicus La Romana
  • Dreams Las Mareas Costa Rica
  • Now Jade Riviera Cancun
  • Sunscape Dominican Beach Punta Cana

It's a great time to plan a winter getaway and save some $$

Contact our Am Resort Master Agents here for more info on taking advantage of this deal!

 

*Starting from rate varies by resort and is based on land-only reservations. Starting from rate is not reflective of the price for the entire travel period. Not applicable to group bookings. Run of the house room categories. Entire promotion is subject to availability and can be modified or closed at any time.

 

Coming to a Galaxy near you! A Star Wars themed resort!

Take all of my money right now!! All of us Star Wars fans at Upon A Star Travel are so excited with the announcement that there will be a Star Wars themed resort heading to Walt Disney World!

It was announced yesterday at D23 that there will indeed be an awesome new resort that is Star Wars inspired! Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts,  described the resort by saying, “It’s unlike anything that exists today.” Bob said. “From the second you arrive, you will become a part of a Star Wars story! You’ll immediately become a citizen of the galaxy and experience all that entails, including dressing up in the proper attire. Once you leave Earth, you will discover a starship alive with characters, stories, and adventures that unfold all around you. It is 100% immersive, and the story will touch every single minute of your day, and it will culminate in a unique journey for every person who visits.”

Check out the visual concepts:

Come on Star Wars fans, are you thrilled or what!! Can't wait to stay in this resort and be fully immersed into the world of Star Wars! This is the perfect addition to all of the awesome new things coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios! No opening dates have been announced yet but you better believe that we will let you know as soon as we get the news!

Let our experts help you plan a vacation that is out of this world! Contact us today here and will get in touch with you to help you plan your next magical vacation!

Want travel info? Check out our website!

Toy Story Land: Opening Summer 2018!!

Get ready to shrink to the size of a toy and explore Andy's backyard! Toy Story Land will be opening in the Summer of 2018! We've known about this exciting new addition to Hollywood Studios for a while and now the opening is in sight! 

You will get to explore the world of Andy's backyard and ride his awesome creations! Slinky Dog Dash, a family coaster, will be one of the exciting new attractions coming our way!

Slinky Dog Dash

Slinky Dog Dash

The other main attraction in Andy's backyard is Alien Swirling Saucers! This ride will be modeled after Andy's playset from Pizza Planet. Aliens will swirl and fly around you while they try to capture your rocket with "The Claw"! Can't wait to come face-to-face with those adorable aliens!

 

I don't know about you but we are super-excited about Toy Story Land! It's such an iconic Disney movie franchise, so I can't wait to see it come alive and be part of it! Make sure to check in with us for the opening day announcement when it is released!

Want to be there in person to see it all? Let us help you plan a truly magical trip for the Summer of 2018! Contact our travel experts here to start planning a vacation that is out of this world!!

Check out our website today!

 

Am Resorts Wanderlust Sale!!

The definition of wanderlust is (n.) A strong desire to travel. These great deals from AM Resorts will be giving you wanderlust! AM Resorts represents 6 countries-52 Resorts-and 6 different resort styles! There is truly something for everyone! Check out this awesome promotion!

Book your vacation at any AM Resort by June 20, 2017 and save up to 40% off!  Plus, resort coupons, hydrotherapy and welcome gifts with room upgrades for as low as $15 USD!

BOOK BY: JUNE 20, 2017
TRAVEL BY: AUGUST 18, 2017

Contact one of our All-Inclusive Vacation experts today to take advantage of this great deal!

Our agents are destination specialists and know what they sell! We can help you find the perfect resort for you!