Monday, May 13, 2013

Are You Paying More for Less on Your Disney Vacation?

An interesting infographic on the benefits of renting a vacation home for your next Disney vacation:

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Monday, April 22, 2013

How to Go Green on Vacation

How to go green on vacation
Even on vacation? Yup!
Happy Earth Day!

Have you ever wondered if it's possible to "Go Green" on vacation?

It's easier than you may think!

We'll show you some simple steps to make your next vacation more sustainable and environmentally-responsible.

The Environment's Nightmare Vacation

But first - here's what NOT to do on vacation...

You're in a rush to get your family to the airport and you accidentally leave your entire home office - and all your other home electronics - plugged in. Whoops!

But good news! You've made it to the airport and have everyone's tickets, maps, and itineraries printed out - in triplicate. So you know you'll have everything ready to get through the lines.

Now to check the luggage and get through security. You've packed more than you wanted, but you'll definitely need everything you packed right?

Once you've made it through security, it's off to the vendors for food and water. Good thing they have so many water bottles for sale - you're thirsty after lugging around all that luggage.

Ahhh - a short 3 hour plane ride later and your family's arrived. It's vacation time!

That is, after you've picked up the rental car. You have a few options, but forget it! You've earned this vacation and now it's time to ride in roomy, eight-seat SUV style with your family of four.

Woo-hoo, another fabulous family vacation! And an extremely costly trip for the environment.

And now the more responsible way...

5 Ways to Go Green on Vacation

1. Unplug. If you're not at home, there's no need to cool your house. Set the thermostat higher so the air conditioning doesn't kick on throughout the day.

Turn off and unplug any electronics including printers, computers, alarm clocks, coffee makers, lamps, and TVs. Not only will you prevent unnecessary electricity usage, you can save up to 10% on your bills by doing this regularly.

You can do the same things at your hotel or vacation home. Turn off lights and other electronics while out touring and participate in the laundry and recycling programs.

2. Go paperless. Most travel companies offer e-tickets and correspond via email. Use to your smartphone to check-in and store itinerary information. Going paperless may even save you time, since you can go straight to the security checkpoint.

3. Pack lightly. Every extra 10 pounds/traveler requires 350 million additional gallons of jet fuel/year, according to author Thomas Kostigen. Most hotels and vacation homes have washer/dyers so you can pack fewer clothes, wash, and reuse them.

And unless you're vacationing in the jungle, you'll probably have access to a major convenience store or retail center for any essentials you forgot to pack. No need to pack your entire house for the "just in case" instances that probably won't happen.

4. Bring a reusable water bottle. Bottled water bottles add 1.5 million tons of plastic waste per year. And the water is no healthier than tap water. Purchase a BPA-free water bottle with a filter and never overpay for tap water again.

5. Rent a smart car. If possible, take the train and public transportation. But if you need to rent a car, opt for a "smarter" car. Start by choosing a car for the number of people in your party - family of four? A four-seater is the best option!

If you have the option to rent a fuel-efficient, hybrid, or electric car, do so! Not only will you be saving yourself gas money, but you'll be reducing your carbon footprint.

What Next?

If you're interested in other simple ways to live a Go Green life, check out The Green Book.

Curious about the dwindling resource, clean water? Watch Thirst from PBS.

We want to know - how do you vacation while still being environmentally responsible? Leave a comment or .

Are you or a friend about to take a trip? Share these tips to Go Green on vacation!


Friday, January 25, 2013

Make Your Mark in Disney History!

Vote by January 31!
Do you want the chance to make a lasting impression at Walt Disney World?

Now's your chance to be part of Disney history, by casting your vote in Disney's latest Limited Time Magic.

Vote for you favorite art design, which will be featured on limited-edition Disney Merchandise available in 2014. 

The winning design will be announced at the end of 2013, but hurry because voting ends January 31, 2013!

Vote in ROVH's (unofficial) poll below & cast your vote online!

Your Art Choices:

Limited Time Magic Art
Choice 1

Art from Limited Time Magic
Choice 2

Limited Time Magic Dated Art
Choice 3

Here's How to Officially Vote:

Vote on Disney World's Facebook page by "Liking" the photo of your favorite art or complete the poll on the Disney Parks Blog.

We're Curious...

Which Disney Art is Your Favorite? free polls 
(Our poll is not an official vote. To officially vote, please go to Disney's Facebook page or the Disney Parks Blog.)

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

5 Ways to Market Your Vacation Home on Facebook

Use Facebook to Promote Your Vacation Rental
Promote Your Vacation Rental on Facebook
In our last post, we walked you through the steps to create a Facebook page for your vacation rental.

Unfortunately, merely creating a Facebook page isn't enough to get your vacation rental noticed.

The key to more Facebook inquiries and bookings is to promote your vacation rental's Facebook page.

Curious how this works?

Read on for ROVH's 5 Facebook marketing tips.

More Likes Means a Wider Reach 

Facebook works by sharing content through networks.

Your network consists of the people who "Like" your vacation rental's page. 

Whenever you share something on your vacation rental's page, your network sees your post in their news feed.

If a follower shares your post, their own Facebook network sees your post. Get enough shares through many Facebook networks and suddenly your post has gone viral.

The trick to marketing your vacation home on Facebook is creating content that will go viral.

How to Create Content People Will Share

1. Post useful, intriguing, or fun info. Your followers will naturally want to share something interesting or helpful with their friends, whether its a relevant news story or 10% off seasonal promotion.

2. Use images and videos. Studies show that these two mediums are more widely shared than just text. If your post is mainly text, include an applicable photo. Don't forget that quality counts - use professional-grade photos whenever possible.

3. Post at 3PM EST on Wednesdays. Again, studies show that this is the time and day when people share the most with their network. If you only post 1 time per week, choose this day and time. But... 

4. Try to post at least every other day. It's important to keep your network engaged with your page. A word of caution though - your network will quickly un-Like you if you inundate them with ads. Keep to the 80/20 rule: post 80% relevant content and 20% promotions, e.g. 1 ad for every 5 posts.

5. Provide a way to connect. Include your email address or links to your availability calendar, booking calendar, or website so potential guests can get in touch with you. Your contact info should be included in your page's About section, but it never hurts to include it in posts where appropriate.

And don't forget to respond to readers who engage your posts. Whether it's a like, comment, or direct message it's worth your time to thank your readers or reply in a timely manner.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Shh! 10 Disney World Secrets...

Disney World Utilidors Underground Tunnels
One of the few pictures of the Utilidors 
Have you ever wondered if Disney World has any secrets?

Oh yes, it does!

Behind the magical world of characters, rides, shows, and food, there's a secret world that Disney keeps hidden.

What if we revealed 10 of Disney's biggest secrets to you today?

Keep reading.

Learn About Disney's Underground City

1. Disney World is built on top of an underground city. When you walk through Magic Kingdom's gates you might notice a slight incline. That's because Walt Disney built a series of underground tunnels and utility corridors called "Utilidors" so cast members and deliveries can be transported without disrupting the park's guests. By the time you reach Cinderella's Castle, you're technically on the third-story of Disney World.

2. You can tour the underground kingdom. If you're at least 16 years old and willing to pay $229 for a ticket, Disney will take you on a 7 hour "Backstage Magic" tour. Besides exploring the utilidors, you'll get the chance to check out behind the scenes action at every park. Don't bring your camera though - photos are forbidden backstage.

3. Disney World actually is its own city! You read that right. In 1967, the Florida State legislature created the Reedy Creek Improvement District for Disney World and received a number of economic benefits in return. Disney's district has the same authority as any city's government, including the power to open a school or create a criminal justice system. Disney's board of supervisors hasn't done anything like that yet, but if it did, they would probably have full support from the district residents - all Disney Cast Members!

"Disney World's Magic Kingdom sits 16 feet above an underground kingdom of tunnels, corridors, and warehouses that spans 9 acres."

Look for these Above Ground Secrets

4. Smells like...Have you noticed that delicious, sweet, cooking food smell on Main Street? What about the burning smells at EPCOT Center and Future World? The water and leather smell in Pirates of the Caribbean?  What you're smelling are really patented scents created by Disney's Air Smellitizer. Located in the underground kingdom, the Smellitizer wafts its scents above ground to help create the perfect experience - and keep Florida's swamp smell at bay.

5. Why is the park so clean? You won't walk more than 30 feet without finding a garbage can at Disney World. That's because Walt Disney did extensive research to create a safe and clean environment for his parks. During his research, he discovered that theme park guests would drop their trash on the ground if they couldn't find a garbage can within 40 feet. And your garbage doesn't last long in the park. It's suctioned at 65mph through underground vacuum pipes to a landfill.

Hidden Mickey at Disney World
Do you see the Hidden Mickey?
6. Keep an eye out for Hidden Mickeys. Throughout the park, "Hidden Mickeys" abound. Created by the Imagineers, they are hidden in plain sight and come in many forms, including the tri-circle Mickey head symbol and full figure silhouettes. Mickey isn't the only hidden character, though. Try to spot Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Goofy, and other characters, too.

7. Camouflage. Disney paints its administrative buildings, fences, and garbage bins in two shades known as "Go Away Green" and "Blend in Brown" . It's meant to blend all the non-magical parts of the park into the background so you focus on just the park fantasies.

What about Cinderella's Castle?

8. You can (theoretically) stay in Cinderella's suite. The 650 sq ft apartment was originally created for Walt Disney and his family, but he died before they could occupy the suite. Now Disney's board grants overnight access to some guests, who access the 4th floor suite via a hidden elevator. In case you were considering making reservations, some of the most recent overnight guests were Tom and Suri Cruise.

9. The castle is smaller than it looks. Thanks to the Imagineers' trick called "forced perspective", each story of the 189 foot castle is smaller than the story below. The bricks and castle windows are also smaller and spaced closer together as you look up. On Main Street, the buildings are angled to make the castle seem further away.

And One More Secret...

10. Celebrate your child's birthday at Disney World! Go to City Hall just inside the Magic Kingdom entrance and ask for birthday button. Your child will receive special attention all day from Cast Members and characters! If you're a resort guest, don't forget to the tell the resort front desk a day in advance. You can expect a few birthday surprises to show up in your room!

Do you have a friend vacationing at Disney World soon? Share these secrets with them to make their vacation even more exciting!

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How to Create a Facebook Page for Your Vacation Home

(1) Sign up for Facebook
What if you could promote your vacation home online for free, and reach a nearly unlimited number of potential guests?

Facebook is one of the most popular social networking services worldwide and is free for anyone to use, including businesses and in this case, Orlando vacation homes.

If you're looking for a way to advertise your vacation home online for free, follow ROVH's step-by-step directions to create a property profile for your vacation home.

How do you use Facebook to promote your vacation home?

(2) Choose a Company Page
1. Sign up for Facebook. If you don't already have an account, go to Facebook and create a personal account. It's free to sign up and it's the first step to creating your vacation home's Facebook page.

2. Log into your new account. Once you've logged in, navigate to Facebook's Create a Page. Choose "Company, Organization, or Institution" box and select "Travel/Leisure" from the drop down menu. Enter your vacation home's name in the "Company Name" field, check the "I agree to Facebook Pages Terms" box, and click "Get Started".

3. Add a profile picture. Click "Upload From Computer" and choose a high-quality, colorful, and clear picture of your vacation home or resort. Click "Next".

4. Describe your vacation home. Include a tag line, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, special amenities, and anything else you'd like to highlight. If you have a website for your vacation home, add the URL to the website address field. Click "Yes" and "Save Info". Congrats, your page has been created!

(5) Edit Your Vacation Home's Page
5. Edit your page. Click the "Edit Page" drop down and choose "Update Info". Add information about your vacation home. TIP: Use your resort's address to protect your privacy. To change privacy settings on your page, click "Manage Permissions" on the left hand column and update settings to your preference.

Note: To edit your vacation home's page, click the settings wheel in the top right corner of your screen and choose your vacation home's page name. You have to use Facebook as your vacation home's page to make changes to the page itself.

(6) Add Pictures to Your Home's Profile 
6. Add pictures. From the Admin Panel, click on the "Photos" link under the photo icon. Click "Add New Photos" and upload photos of your vacation home and resort. TIP: To create a specific album, (for example, House Photos Album, Resort Photos Album, etc.) click on the "Albums" tab and click "Create New Album". Upload photos from your computer to complete the album. Don't forget to add a description for each photo!

7. Add a cover picture. From the Admin Panel, click on the "Add a Cover" button by the picture icon. Upload a picture, drag to change the page position, and click "Save Changes". TIP: Upload a high-quality picture of your vacation home, resort, or a Disney attraction. Don't use this space for promotions or advertising.

8. Share your vacation home's page with family, friends, and guests. From the Admin Panel, click on the "Build Audience" drop down menu and select "Invite Email Contacts". Alternatively, you can share your page's URL by copying and pasting into an email or other online communication method. Ask your contacts to "Like" your vacation home's Facebook page to increase visibility of your vacation home online.

9. Keep your vacation home's page updated! Share new photos of your vacation home, invite your guests to post on your vacation home's page, and advertise promotions and last-minute specials. Facebook is a great way to connect with guests and promote your vacation home online. Read more...

10. Email ROVH for help. We're happy to get you started and keep your page going!

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Experience Extra Magic at Disney World with Limited Time Magic

Limited Time Magic at Disney World
Limited Time Magic at Disney World
What if there was a way for your family to celebrate surprise events and collect special souvenirs at Disney World?

Well get ready for your dreams to come true, because every Friday through 2013, Disney World Resorts announces a new Limited Time Magic.

These "extra sprinkles of Pixie Dust" are the perfect way for your family to enjoy a little more magic at Disney.

Expect Surprise Entertainment & Souvenirs with Limited Time Magic

A new Limited Time Magic celebration or souvenir will be featured every week, so make sure you take advantage of them while they last.

If you love a theme, event, or souvenir, tell a park employee because there's a chance your favorite could show up again later in the year!

Winter Wonderland Limited Time Magic
Characters at the Winter Wonderland
Last week Disney hosted a Winter Wonderland at Epcot's Canada Pavilion. Some of Disney's favorite characters were there for pictures and families enjoyed playing in the "snow".

Tell us: Did your family see last week's Limited Time Magic? Which characters were your favorites?

Show us: Do you have some great pics from the Winter Wonderland? Email your pics to ROVH and they could be featured on our Facebook & Twitter pages!

Upcoming Disney World Limited Time Magic Events
This week, January 21-27, Disney is hosting the Long Lost Friends Week

Keep your camera ready for old favorites like The Three Little Pigs, Robin Hood and Friar Tuck, Clarabelle Cow, and Horace Horsecollar!

Disney World Limited Time Magic Souvenirs
Disney Couture Ear Hats Year of the Ear Limited Time Magic
Couture Ear Hat from Disney World
It's Year of the Ear at Disney World. Every month, Disney will release a new set of ear hats and head wear.

January is Disney Couture Ear Hats. Pick up all 5 fashionable hats for your Ears collection at the parks.  

Tell us: What do you think February's ear theme will be?

Show us: Do you have a fantastic Ear collection? We'd love to see pics! Email your pics to ROVH and they could be featured on our Facebook & Twitter pages!

Subscribe to ROVH for Limited Time Magic Updates

With free updates from ROVH, we'll make sure you family knows the latest Limited Time Magic news. We'll keep you posted on what events are happening this week, where to find them, and what souvenirs are available this month. 

There's 3 Easy Ways to Subscribe to ROVH:

1. Sign up to receive free email newsletter updates from ROVH on Limited Time Magic and Disney news.

2. Like ROVH on Facebook to read our posts on Limited Time Magic and Disney news.

3. Follow ROVH on Twitter to get our Limited Time Magic and Disney news tweets. 


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