Travel Blog

About Our Agent Bloggers

All Agents are College of Disney Knowledge graduates, with some also holding additional specialties like:   Accredited Cruise Counselor, Universal Specialist, Sandals & Beaches Specialist, as well as other destination specialties.   Our Agents are experienced travelers.  If your specific agent hasn’t experienced “it”, there is someone in the Agency that has; so you have access to first-hand, experienced advice.  That’s how we can provide you this experiential based travel planning service!  We are an entire Team working together!

Our Agents will ALWAYS, without fail, no exceptions – tell you the truth and do what they say.

Trained. Traveled. Trusted.  It’s Who We Are.

 

Share Button

How To Spend One Day in Universal Studios Florida

Posted by on 8:00 am in Thoughts and Opinions | 0 comments

How To Spend One Day in Universal Studios Florida

Written by Rob Bloom, Creative Director of Discover Universal Blog

It’s 1990. I’m standing with my family (and my glorious mullet) in the middle of Universal Studios Florida. For a kid growing up on a steady diet of movies and TV, there was no place else in the world I’d rather be. 

The backlot sets. Nickelodeon Studios. All of it.

Nickelodeon
Photo Credit: Rob Bloom

If I could go back in time and tell little Robbie Bloom one thing, it’d be, “lose the mullet.” Oh, I’d also tell him, “One day, you’re going to be working here.” 

Working here has been a dream come true. Not only do I get to film in the theme parks but I get to play there too. As a fan. Just like I’ve been since 1990. OK, enough with the sappy stuff, let’s do this.

[clears throat, taps on mic]

He-lloooooo there! I’m Rob and I’ll be your o-fficial Universal Studios Florida tour guide for the next, say, three to five minutes. Now, [chuckles], I’m a bit of an expert when it comes to this theme park so, today, I’m going to be taking you on a little tour, dropping some knowledge and even a few pro tips. So please, place your personal belongings in one of our lockers, take small children by the hand, and let’s explore Universal Studios Florida!

MORNING:

I like to get in early and stay late. So when those gates open, friends, I’m walking with a purpose.

PRO TIP: When you stay at a Universal Orlando Resort hotel, you have Early Park Admission. For free. Enjoy the parks up to a full hour before regular day guests with this incredible perk. 

All right, so the first place I head is Revenge of the Mummy— hands down my favorite ride in the park. I’m taking my time going through the queue because:

a)    The queue is awesome.

b)    See a.

To me,Revenge of the Mummy is as close to a classic theme park attraction as you can get. The ride combines great storytelling, animatronics, pyro, and a pretty great indoor coaster — all while immersing you in the film. 

With that attraction under my belt, it’s time for a breakfast stop. It’s a quick walk over to the TODAY Cafe where I grab a breakfast sandwich and cup of coffee. I spend a few minutes at a table outside, enjoying the food and the view of Hollywood Blvd.

After breakfast it’s time to join Gru and the gang on Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. This ride is a blast for all family members and a must-do for anybody who loves a little mischief. 

OK, let’s keep moving. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, here we come!

DiagonAlley
Photo Credit: @coonmatic

The entrance to Diagon Alley is truly magical. As many times as I’ve stood here, the experience of walking in and seeing that view still gives me goosebumps. With the Leaky Cauldron on the left, Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes on the right, and a fire-breathing dragon perched on top of Gringotts just ahead — there is so much to explore in Diagon Alley.

We’ll explore plenty in a few moments though. First, and I’m going to say this as dramatically as possible, first, we ride.

Time for Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, also known as one of the best queues of any attraction anywhere. You’re literally walking through Gringotts, past goblin bank tellers, and right through the inner workings of the bank itself before you go underground to begin the adventure.

From a ride perspective, this one’s pretty spectacular. Lots of action, speed, and I don’t want to throw in any spoilers here but let’s just say that you might encounter a certain someone who must not be named along the journey. 

OK, all this escaping has made me thirsty. Butterbeer time! Today, I’m having cold Butterbeer but you can also try hot and frozen. Not to mention Butterbeer ice cream, fudge, and potted cream. If the opportunity to try each of these isn’t a great enough reason to spend more than one day at Universal Studios Florida, I don’t know what is.  

Butterbeer
Photo Credit: @janeinlando

PRO TIP: Enjoy your Butterbeer on the move and do some exploring. Be sure to go to Ollivanders and watch the wand choose the wizard, check out a performance from Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees, and explore the dark corners of Knockturn Alley

MID-DAY:

Right outside of Diagon Alley is an unsung culinary hero at Universal Studios Florida: the London Taxi Cart. This is a perfect spot to fuel up before you hit more attractions; I recommend the Shepherd’s Pie Jacket Potato and grabbing a nice spot to eat right there along the waterway. 

Next up is MEN IN BLACK Alien Attacka must-do for any day spent in Universal Studios Florida. I won’t post my score from the ride because, honestly, I don’t want to be trolled in the comments below. Look, I know I’m bad at this, OK? Let’s drop it. Anyway, this is another classic attraction with animatronics, awesome sets, and a fun storyline. 

PRO TIP: Be sure to ask a Team Member to tour the space. It’s fun, free, and you’ll experience this attraction in a whole new way. *This experience is not always available. Saving the galaxy can be quite time-consuming.*

Simpsons
Picture Credit: Left @ingridvanylle, Right @tekaballuthy

After defending the galaxy, I love making my way over to Springfield, U.S.A. With all of the unique details, it really feels like the home of The Simpsons!

While there, I check out The Simpsons Ride, joining Homer, Bart, Marge, Lisa and Maggie on a fun-filled adventure.

My day continues as I make my way to the Duff Brewery Beer Garden where I like to stop in for an ice-cold Duff Beer.

AFTERNOON

I always make it a point to stop by the Animal Actors on Location!show. In a world of high-tech “how’d they do that?” attractions, I love the charm of this classic show. Hey, it’s cute animals doing cool tricks. Win, win.

And while you’re in this area, check out DreamWorks Destination. This all-new interactive experience features the chance to interact with multiple characters from DreamWorks Animation’s hit film franchises Trolls, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, and more. If you’ve got kids (or not), this is a fun stop. 

Now, of course, no visit to Universal Studios Florida is complete without a trip to the Green Planet. You can read my detailed thoughts on this classic attraction here so I’ll keep things moving. Basically, E.T. Adventure is a classic dark ride, it’s the only opening day attraction still operating, and it’s every bit as delightful now as it was when it opened in 1990. 

Bourne
Photo Credit: @superenthused

After experiencing the oldest Universal Studios attraction, head on over to one of its newest: The Bourne Stuntacular!This live-action stunt show thrills guests on a daily basis and, for my money, it’s the best stunt show in Florida. 

And now for one of the biggest thrills in the park: Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit or, as I affectionately refer to it, “I can do this…I can do this.”

RipRide
Photo Credit: @polimoon9

I love the experience of being on Hollywood Rip Ride RockitAnd by “on” I mean “being at a 90 degree angle while rocking out to disco.” This ride is awesome and a must-see for any coaster fans. 

PRO TIP: There’s actually a hidden menu of songs you can unlock.  When you board the vehicle, check out the touch screen in front of you. Press and hold the attraction logo for ten seconds, let go, and, well, you can take it from there… 

EVENING:

Time for a quick dinner at the Universal Studios’ Classic Monsters Café. The food’s great (try the ribs) and the restaurant itself is like stepping on the set of a classic Universal Monsters film. 

After dinner, it’s time for the Superstar Parade (be sure to check the official Universal Orlando Resort app to check its availability!).. Nothing gets me and my family hyped quite like a dance party with some of our favorite characters. Be sure to prioritize the parade for a chance to see SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora and Diego, the Minions crew, and even some friends from The Secret Life of the Pets. All on the streets of Universal Studios, this is a boost of energy and fun as we hit the home stretch of our day.

And now we’re off to Transformers: The Ride-3D! You’ve been recruited to save Earth from Megatron and those Decepticons. C’mon, where else can you do this but at Universal?

I like to save Transformers: The Ride 3-D as one of my last rides for the day because, after riding, I can quickly make my way over to the waterfront for Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration

Universal's Cinematic Celebration

The sights and sounds of your favorite movies — against the backdrop of the theme park — is the perfect way to end the day. Standing here, watching this show, in the theme park I’ve loved for more than three decades, I feel the same awe I felt when I visited in 1990. And it’s even better now without the mullet. 

Arches
Photo Credit: @Tampa Bay Photography

[taps mic again]

OK, folks. Please stay seated while this blog comes to a complete stop. Once again, my name’s Rob and I hope you’ll come back again soon. After all, we didn’t even ride the Hogwarts Express over to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade.

But hey, that’s what tomorrow’s for.

Originally posted here.

Share Button

Celebrating 40 Years of Sandals with All 5 Senses

Posted by on 7:00 am in Thoughts and Opinions | 0 comments

Celebrating 40 Years of Sandals with All 5 Senses

October 18, 2021

By Kylie Morrow from Sandals Resorts

We’re officially forty.

Back in 1981, we opened our flagship resort, Sandals Montego Bay, our company’s home base for love, luxury, and lust for life. We’ve shared the last forty years with you, our valued guests who’ve come to consider Sandals Resorts a home away from home. Forty years of love and romance, forty years of wedding bells and engagements, forty years of reunions and rekindling love in the Caribbean Sea — that’s why we’re celebrating.

toast-photo

Cheers to 40 years!

One night of celebrating just isn’t enough for this anniversary. Instead, we’re implementing a wide range of forty-inspired offerings and festivities throughout the year at all Sandals Resorts. What’s more, we’re rewinding the clock with all five senses.

Hear 40 years of Sandals

We need no excuse to celebrate, but this anniversary calls for something extra. Let’s groove eighties style. Cyndi, Prince, Journey – our talented DJs will keep the party spinning at every resort, every week, with live 80’s inspired music. As the inventors of the swim-up pool bar, we know how to throw a poolside party. Throw on your vintage apparel and get ready for this Sandals Rewind Experience.

DJ-Image
A DJ plays the throwback sounds of 80’s classics.

Feel 40 years of Sandals

As we embrace our blast to the past, we’re launching a limited edition 1981-inspired vintage retail collection available in all resort shops. Choose from ten exclusive designs and show your Sandals love, trading in your 2021 trends for our nostalgic styles. Whether you’re celebrating a full forty years as a loyal Sandals guest or marking your very first stay with us, we’re happy to have you. This limited-edition apparel will be available beginning in November.

Vintage-Shirts
Sandals Resorts’ limited edition 1981 vintage style apparel.

Taste & smell 40 years of Sandals

While the DJs are spinning, you’ll find our bartenders serving up classic hand-crafted cocktails from our “Then and Now” drink menu, featuring side-by-side 1981 vs. 2021 specials. At this party, we’re sippin like it’s 81’. Go round for round, decade by decade, tasting the original flavors made famous by Sandals Resorts. Dark rum, Blue Curaçao, sweet pineapple juice, freshly squeezed lime, crème de cocoa—all the flavors that have served us so well for four decades aren’t going anywhere.

cocktail
A Sandals Resorts team member prepares a poolside cocktail.

See 40 years of Sandals

This anniversary is about you, and the special moments we’ve been so lucky to share

We’re inviting you, our most-loved Sandals guests, to venture on home to island life and celebrate the years we’ve spent together and the trips that have yet to be planned. At participating on-resort social gatherings, you’ll find a 360° photo booth waiting to capture the spirit of love at Sandals. Just step onto the elevated platform, and watch as an automatic camera circles the booth, sending you off with a slow-motion, high-definition video of the party at its peak. Take home this video memorabilia of a trip you’ll never forget and the oasis that will always be waiting to embrace you with open arms.

Here at Sandals, we believe there are actually six senses: touch, sound, taste, smell, sight, and love. It’s always been here and always will be. For 40 years, we’ve been celebrating love; the love we see in our couples, the love we share with each other, and the love we have for our home in the Caribbean.

ncktagram
Sandals Grenada’s zero-entry river pool, part of the resort’s iconic Swim-Up Butler Suites.
Photo credit: @nckstagram/instagram

To show that latter LOVE, we’re going 40 for 40 and focusing on forty projects selected by our valued team members that best reflect our philanthropy, showcasing the power of tourism to transform communities and lives. We’re rolling up our sleeves and getting to work to continue bettering our environment, ensuring a brighter 40 years to come.

From ecological conservation efforts at UNESCO World Heritage sites to assisting local farmers in increasing their sustainable food production practices, we’re committed to forging stronger bonds, off-site and on

DSC_8693
Sandals Foundation volunteers kick off the 40 for 40 projects with the planting of 7,000 trees at the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park in Jamaica.

Whether you visit us in celebration of our anniversary or book a stay for an anniversary of your own, we will remain dedicated to romance and love in all forms, steadfast and true.

Maybe you’re one-half of a lucky couple celebrating a milestone. Maybe you once married the love of your life in a Sandals chapel years ago, perhaps one of the first-ever couples to do so. Maybe your parents once honeymooned in the Caribbean Sea, and you’re looking to walk in their (vintage) shoes. We invite you to share your favorite Sandals memories with us from the past or near future on Instagram at #TheOneYouLove.

Look-out-Picture
The sun setting along the shore of Sandals Grenada.
Photo credit: @nckstagram/instagram

Whatever it is that brings you to our luxury all-inclusive resorts, we welcome you back to the future with open arms as we celebrate 40 years of love and trust and look ahead to 40 more.

Originally posted by Sandals Blog on October 4, 2011

Share Button

How To Spend One Day in Universal’s Islands of Adventure

Posted by on 8:00 am in Thoughts and Opinions | 0 comments

How To Spend One Day in Universal’s Islands of Adventure
Universal's Islands of Adventure

By Katie Schmidt, Managing Editor of the Universal Orlando Resort Blog.

With its incredibly immersive themed lands, insanely thrilling roller coasters, and top-notch restaurants, Universal’s Islands of Adventure has a lot to offer. Some of my favorite days have been spent morning to evening exploring the theme park and enjoying all the sights, rides, and tasty treats throughout Islands of Adventure. 

But with so much to see and do, it can be tricky to plan how to map out your day. Well worry not my weary traveler, I’m here to help with this complete guide to a day in Islands of Adventure.

FIRST THINGS FIRST

I recommend staying at a Universal Orlando Resort hotel. First off, they’re phenomenal hotels with unique theming, comfy beds, and their own fun activities (Cabana Bay literally has a bowling alley!). But staying on property keeps you close to the action, provides convenient transportation to the theme parks, and has plenty of perks. If you stay at any Universal hotel, you get Early Park Admission to the theme parks and if you want another bonus, stay at one of our premier hotels and your keycard will also be a Universal Express Pass to participating attractions in Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure!

MORNING

I am what many have referred to as a “morning person”. I wake up with pep in my step and that is even more true when I’ve got a day in the theme parks ahead of me.

Hulk
Photo Credit: @billysellar_

My favorite way to start the day in Islands of Adventure is to head straight to Marvel Super Hero Island for the chance to Hulk out on The Incredible Hulk Coaster. Why here first?

  1. It’s super close to the entrance of Islands of Adventure, so it’s a quick jaunt.
  2. It’s The Incredible Hulk Coaster! C’mon folks, it’s a revered roller coaster that is impeccably themed. That launch first thing in the morning? Just the right jolt to set the stage for a day of thrill.

If you’re anything like me, a hulk out can work up quite an appetite. It might seem counterintuitive to go counter clockwise, but trust me on this one. It’s time to head back toward Port of Entry and grab some grub from Croissant Moon Bakery. You’re going to want some sustenance for your full day, so whether it’s one of the breakfast croissants or the “On the Run” Continental Breakfast, you really can’t go wrong here. 

Next up is Seuss Landing! I absolutely love this area of Islands of Adventure; it’s whimsical, it’s got a total of four rides, and it’s the home to one of my favorite theme-park snacks, the Buffalo Chicken Tots at Green Eggs and Ham Cafe. OK, yes, I know, we just ate breakfast. I was just saying if anyone wants some post-breakfast tots, I’m not gonna judge.

All four rides in Seuss Landing are a total blast, but I do always prioritize a go on One Fish, Two Fish and The High In The Sky Trolley Ride (that view!!). If you’ve got kiddos in your group, though — or a kiddos-at-heart friend — definitely plan to spend time on all the Seuss Landing rides and enjoying the multiple character meet-and-greets in the area

SeussThings
Photo Credit: @vicenterubiera

MID DAY

Whether you’re in the mood for a quick bite or a sitdown meal at a restaurant, The Lost Continent can meet your needs next! Mythos Restaurant is home to some of the best dining selections in all of Universal Orlando Resort (I dream of the Pad Thai) and is a great spot to sit and stay a while. If you’re in a hurry, though, and just need a quick bite, Doc Segrue’s Desert Kebab House is a great option. Enjoy a chicken kebab en route to your next adventure.

PRO TIP:  Even if you’re not hungry when walking through The Lost Continent, be sure to explore the back of the Mythos for some stunning views and envy-worthy photo-ops.

Wand at the ready, folks; we’re going to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade next. This snow-capped wizarding village is packed with details and little nooks and crannies to explore. Honestly, I could spend a full day using my Interactive Wand to cast spells and sipping on Butterbeer from Hog’s Head.

My top recommendations in Hogsmeade are:

  1. Ride all three rides. Every single ride in Hogsmeade is a perfect blend of Harry Potter theming and just plain fun. Start with Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure to get your adrenaline going, take in the view at the top of Flight of the Hippogriff, and go on a great adventure in Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  2. Grab a Butterbeer and catch a show. Days in the parks can feel a little nonstop and that can get exhausting. In between rides, grab a Butterbeer (there are six different kinds available!) and nab a spot outside of the castle to enjoy either The Frog Choir or The Triwizard Spirit Rally


PRO TIP: Download the official Universal Orlando Resort app before you arrive and use the Wait Time Alert feature throughout your day. This will help you set an alert for when your must-ride attractions are at a lower wait time so you can plan your day accordingly.

Jurassic Arches
Photo Credit: @dnnyklly

Now we’re off to Jurassic Park for some face-to-face encounters with dinosaurs! With rides and attractions highlighting both the Jurassic Park and the Jurassic World franchises, this area of the park is packed with must-do’s.

Tucked away right near the entrance to Jurassic Park is The Watering Hole. This spot is a little known sanctuary of deliciousness. Order the loaded nachos and one of their signature tropical cocktails and thank me later. 

Listen, I’d never tell you to eat nachos and then get on a roller coaster, so after you’ve eaten, head over to Raptor Encounter. Here you’ll get to experience one of the coolest and most interactive photo-ops in the parks! Whether it’s Blue herself or one of the baby Raptors, Sierra, Bravo or Tango, you’ll have the chance to say you met a dinosaur on your vacation.

OK, OK, now we can ride a roller coaster. And not just any roller coaster, I’m talking about the new species of roller coaster that upped the bar for all future themed roller coasters —Jurassic World VelociCoaster. This ride is literally nonstop fun and when I say literally I mean it because there are no brakes on the ride until it’s over. Check out our ultimate guide to the attraction here to learn everything that makes this ride worthy of all of its praise.

Something about a ride on VelociCoaster always puts me in the mood for a churro. Good news is that there are delicious churro options (and other Costa-Rican inspired flavors) at the food cart located in Jurassic Park, Natural Selections. I say we grab a snack and start making our way to Toon Lagoon.

ToonLagoon

Toon Lagoon has one of my favorite rides in all of existence and it’s just not a trip to Islands of Adventure without getting positively soaked on Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge Rat Barges. I go in depth into my love of this ride in this blog, but here’s the gist: You will get wet and you will laugh a lot. Both of which are ideal scenarios when you’re on a Florida vacation, so it’s really win win here.

EVENING

It’s time to head back to where we started — Marvel Super Hero Island. My Marvel-loving heart soars in this area of the park and I’m not afraid to admit it. The entire area is a comic-book-lovers dream (plus, there’s a spot that sells comic books!) and you can even meet some of your favorite heroes and villains in the multiple meet-and-greet spots.

Spider-Man
Photo Credit: @mybeachytribe

And no visit to Marvel Super Hero Island is complete without a stop by The Daily Bugle and a ride on The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. Join the world’s most famous web slinger as he saves the Statue of Liberty from the villains of the Sinister Syndicate. 

PRO TIP: If you’re visiting during a season where the theme parks are still open after sunset, I highly recommend riding any/all of the three outside roller coasters (The Incredible Hulk Coaster, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, and Jurassic World VelociCoaster) again in the dark. It will blow your mind how different of an experience it will be!

If you’re looking to grab dinner in Islands of Adventure, hop over to the little-known gem, Confisco Grille. The ribs are out of this world. 

And for anyone who still has some steps in them, head back over to Hogsmeade and catch The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle. It’s a spectacular show and, bonus, it’s dark outside so when you get a little verklempt at the music swells, no one will even see you wipe that tear. 

Heading out of Islands of Adventure at the end of a day well spent is a bittersweet feeling! Whether you choose to cope by enjoying the nightlife over in Universal CityWalk or by turning in early at your hotel, make sure to get some rest. There’s still plenty to do tomorrow at Universal Orlando Resort!

Originally posted here.

Share Button

Breaking News: Celebrity Narrators Return to Candlelight Processional Along with Other Joyous Traditions During EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays Presented by AdventHealth

Posted by on 2:45 pm in Disney Destinations, News | 0 comments

Breaking News: Celebrity Narrators Return to Candlelight Processional Along with Other Joyous Traditions During EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays Presented by AdventHealth

By: Disney Destinations October 15, 2021

Whether your holiday traditions include choirs singing, chestnuts roasting, kitchens cooking, cookies baking or gifts unwrapping, EPCOT is the place to be from Nov. 26 through Dec. 30.

The EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays presented by AdventHealth features cherished cultural traditions, savory seasonal flavors and costumed storytellers from the 11 nations around World Showcase. And, during “The World’s Most Magical Celebration,” the 18-month celebration commemorating the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort, guests will discover incredible EARidescence and countless ways to make new memories with family and friends, making this holiday season extra special.

We’re excited to welcome back the beloved “Candlelight Processional”, a Disney Parks tradition dating back to 1958 at Disneyland park. This heartwarming production at America Gardens Theatre features the Voices of Liberty and a choir of Disney cast members, a live orchestra, and celebrity narrators retelling the traditional Christmas story.

This year’s celebrity narrators will include Chita Rivera, Jodi Benson, Alton Fitzgerald White, Lisa Ling, Steven Curtis Chapman, Blair Underwood and Pat Sajak with more names being added over the next few weeks. Candlelight Processional Dining Packages are also returning, and can be booked online beginning Oct. 26.

During the festival, holiday traditions of the world come to life around World Showcase, such as: 

  • Las Posadas at the Mexico pavilion
  • Canadian Holiday Voyageurs in the Canada pavilion
  • Chinese Lion Dance celebrating the new year in the China pavilion 
  • A Hanukkah storyteller along the promenade and delightful holiday storytellers in France, Italy, Japan, Norway and the United Kingdom. 
  • And outside The American Adventure, you can wave hello to Santa Claus as he gets ready for the big day.

Holiday Kitchens will cook up treasured recipes from around the globe – from slow-roasted turkey and holiday pot pie to pumpkin gingerbread cheesecake and peppermint sundaes. A new offering, Chestnuts & Good Cheer Holiday Kitchen, will dish out fire-roasted chestnuts and cinnamon-glazed almonds and cashews, filling the air with delightful aromas.

Guests of all ages will enjoy sweet treats during the popular Holiday Cookie Stroll. Purchase any five cookies – such as the delicious SNICKERS®-Doodle Cookie made with SNICKERS® Bars or the tasty Chocolate Crinkle Cookie made with DOVE® Dark Chocolate – from any of the official Cookie Stroll locations featured in the Festival Passport and collect a matching stamp. Once guests have collected all five stamps, they can bring their passport to Holiday Sweets & Treats to receive a specialty cookie!

Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition Scavenger Hunt is another fun family activity for guests of all ages. Search for holiday traditions Olaf has gathered from around the world – and lost along the way! Guests can purchase the map and stickers from select festival merchandise locations while supplies last.

And, what’s a holiday season without gifts? From designer fragrances to handmade confectionary treats to festive holiday wines and teas from around the world, it’s easy to find gifts for everyone on the list – including commemorative festival merchandise featuring Olaf!

EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays presented by AdventHealth is available with valid theme park admission and a park reservation for the same date. Stay tuned for more details in the weeks ahead.

Share Button

Fall Savings Sale, Book with Carnival by 10/31/2021

Posted by on 7:00 am in Cruise Specials, Cruises, WFT Specials | 0 comments

Fall Savings Sale, Book with Carnival by 10/31/2021

October 11, 2021

Get great rates on sailings through April 2024.

Cruise rates are in US dollars, per person and based on double occupancy. Offer is capacity controlled and is not combinable with any other discount or promotional offer. Rates may vary by ship, stateroom type and sail date. Change fees are not assessed outside of the final payment window. Category restrictions and exclusions apply. Carnival reserves the right to withdraw and/or change offer at any time without prior notice. Offer is for the cruise fare only and does not include Taxes, Fees and Port Expenses. Taxes, Fees and Port Expenses range from $63.14 to $427.64, and are assessed on a per guest basis for all guests according to the itinerary. Offer is applicable in cabin assignment categories only. Refundable deposit subject to cancellation penalties. Offer bookings made as part of a group will include amenities. Offer is applicable on sailings through April 2024. Offer is applicable on new bookings made between October 1, 2021 – October 31, 2021. Please request rate code PB4. Ships’ Registry: The Bahamas, Panama & Malta.

For more information, contact your Wishes Family Travel Agent!
info@wishesfamilytravel.com
864-649-1016

Share Button

10 Things You HAVE to Do at Universal CityWalk

Posted by on 8:00 am in Thoughts and Opinions | 0 comments

10 Things You HAVE to Do at Universal CityWalk
Photo Credit: IG – @sydneymbush

By Denille Ricci, Associate Editor, Discover Universal Blog

If you’re coming to vacation at Universal Orlando Resort you’re most likely going to find yourself passing through Universal CityWalk. Whether you’re staying at one of our resort hotels and riding a water taxi over or parking in our massive parking garages, you’ll find yourself walking through CityWalk on your way to Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. CityWalk is the perfect place to grab lunch, dinner, or a quick snack, and there is a lot of fun entertainment to check out after you wrap up a day in the theme parks.

You may be a little daunted when you see how many dining and entertainment options you can do in CityWalk. Have no worries! We’re here to help you get started with 10 of our favorites.

1. Indulge in a Fantastical Milkshake from The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen

Milkshakes at The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen

If you went to Universal and didn’t get a Toothsome milkshake, did you even go? These milkshakes are the must-get treat during your vacation for not only the deliciousness, but also the photo that will have everyone wishing they were in your shoes.

2. Try the Epic Fusion of Burgers and Sushi at The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar

Burgushi at The Cowfish

Is it sushi? Is it a burger? It’s both! Burgushi combines the best of both worlds into unique dishes you can only find at The Cowfish. While you’re there, I recommend trying one of their exotic cocktails or spiked milkshakes.

TIP: CityWalk’s restaurants are pretty busy during lunch and dinner times (especially during peak seasons). Click here to guarantee yourself a table by making a reservation ahead of time.

3. Play a Round, or Two, of Miniature Golf at Hollywood Drive-In Golf

Hollywood Drive-In Golf

Not many can say they’ve golfed through a space worm or a haunted house during their vacation… but you can! These two mini-golf courses are themed to the classic sci-fi and horror flicks of the 1950s.

4. Stop By Voodoo Doughnut for a Big Pink Box of… Doughnuts!

Voodoo Doughnut Throne at Universal CityWalk

Voodoo Doll. Grape Ape. Portland Cream. No, these aren’t band names, they’re doughnuts from Voodoo Doughnut. Choose from traditional or whimsical flavors and make sure to ask if they have any specialty doughnuts. They also have vegan options like the ODB, which is so good, like borderline flawless, absolutely delicious.

TIP: Skip the line and order your box of doughnuts ahead of time by mobile ordering through the Universal Orlando Resort app.

5. Get the Ultimate Sports Fan Experience at NBC Sports Grill & Brew

NBC Sports Grill & Brew

You don’t have to miss the game just because you’re on vacation. Catch any league game here while enjoying good food (like a giant soft pretzel) and a cold one from a selection of over 100 beers. There are also foosball tables. Literally, a table where you can eat and also play foosball!

6. Sing Your Heart Out at Rising Star with a Live Karaoke Band

Rising Star in CityWalk

If you’ve ever dreamed of becoming a singer, Rising Star makes that dream reality. Take the stage with backup singers and a live band (on select nights) and belt out your favorite songs in this rockin’ karaoke experience.

7. End Your Day Roasting S’mores and Savoring Smoky Spirits at Bigfire

Bigfire Tableside S'mores - @autumn.happyheartadventures
Photo Credit: IG – @autumn.happyheartadventures

Open fire cooking? Check. S’mores tableside? Check. An extensive list of whiskey and bourbon? Check. Bigfire is where you go to have summer vacation vibes year round with smoky flavors reminiscent of camping and backyard barbeques.

8. Pick Out the Perfect Gift or Souvenir from the Universal Studios Store

Universal Studios Store in Universal CityWalk

You won’t want to miss stopping by this big — and I’m talking BIG — store jam-packed with all the Universal themed gifts and souvenirs you could ever want. 

TIP: Don’t feel like carrying around bags all day in the theme parks? You can have your purchases delivered here for you to pick up as you’re heading out.

9. Enjoy a Stone-Baked Pizza from Red Oven Pizza Bakery

Red Oven Pizza Bakery

Dang, this is some good pizza. These made-to-order pies are baked in a stone-lined oven with a variety of both blanco and rosso pizzas. Grab one to go and sit by the CityWalk lagoon for a great view or enjoy outside seating at the restaurant while getting some great people watching in.

10. Spend the Evening Listening to Your Choice of Live Music

Hard Rock Live at CityWalk

End your busy day at the theme parks by unwinding with live music from one CityWalk’s many venues.  From reggae jams to full-blown rock concerts, here are a few of my favorite spots.

(Just remember that like all restaurants and concert venues, these performances are subject to change. Luckily, there is always something to do in CityWalk!)

Must be 21 years and older with valid identification to purchase or drink alcoholic beverages.

Originally posted here.

Share Button

These Swoon-Worthy Hangouts Are Tweens’ and Teens’ Disney Wish Come True

Posted by on 4:37 pm in Disney Destinations, News | 0 comments

These Swoon-Worthy Hangouts Are Tweens’ and Teens’ Disney Wish Come True

By: Disney Destinations October 8, 2021

Yesterday, we shared new details about the character-filled fun in store for young children aboard the Disney Wish, and today we want to give Guests a closer look at what our newest ship has on deck for the coolest cruisers on the high seas – tweens and teens!

Older kids ages 11 to 17 will chill and play in their own way aboard the Disney Wish, with trendy hangouts and counselor-led programming created just for them. Featuring all-new looks that combine sophisticated design with youthful Disney touches, these clubs will be bursting with creative design details, comfortable lounge space and high-tech entertainment. Let’s take a look…

Edge

At Edge, tweens ages 11 to 14 will have fun, make friends and play games in a bright, colorful hangout inspired by a chic New York City loft. The club will include cozy furnishings, comfortable niches for solo gaming and movie watching, and a soda bar.

One of our favorite details is the indoor solarium area, which will feature a sunny overhead skylight effect, carpet patterned with fresh grass and daisies, a back wall mural of a bright blue sky, and games inspired by a colorful outdoor city park.

Throughout Edge, graphic art displays known as “photo walls” will provide ample opportunities for tweens to capture cool, shareable vacation pics that will surely be the envy of their friends back home.

Vibe

At Vibe, teens ages 14 to 17 will meet new friends, watch movies, play games and participate in entertaining activities created just for them. Inspired by a Parisian artists’ loft, this stylish space will feature classic architectural elements like regal French columns and paneled walls covered with whimsical pop art murals and colorful graffiti, as well as a traditional French Morris column plastered with Disney-inspired travel posters.

The décor will feature an electric retro twist, with vibrant neon signs and funky pop art throughout, accentuated by a larger-than-life, brightly painted Mickey Mouse statue. Combine all of that with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the ocean, and every angle in Vibe will offer a selfie-worthy backdrop for the trendiest teens on the high seas.

The Hideaway

For the first time on a Disney ship, the Disney Wish will feature a third retreat for tweens and teens: The Hideaway. This hip new hangout will offer older kids and young adults another place to relax, sip a smoothie, listen to music and more in a posh setting complete with a dance floor and DJ booth – perfect for karaoke contests and dance competitions.

The Hideaway will be adorned in a vibrant color palette, retro-inspired design details, a stylized “Hiya, pal” mural and disco ball lights. Adjacent to Vibe, this flexible venue can be opened to the teen club, closed off for tween activities and even reserved especially for guests ages 18 to 20.

No matter where they choose to be, tweens and teens are in for a whole “llama” fun during customized, counselor-led programming designed to engage their unique interests, such as a hilarious new competition themed to the fan-favorite Walt Disney Animation Studios’ film, “The Emperor’s New Groove.” (Boom, baby!) And the fun doesn’t stop there: They’ll also enjoy dedicated activities throughout the ship during special events hosted in Hero Zone, Luna and more.

We’re not done unveiling the Disney Wish yet… There are even more surprises and reveals on the horizon. Keep your eye out for the next update!

Share Button

Breaking News: Disney Genie Launching Oct. 19 at Walt Disney World Resort: Create Your Best Disney Day

Posted by on 4:24 pm in Disney Destinations, News | 0 comments

Breaking News: Disney Genie Launching Oct. 19 at Walt Disney World Resort: Create Your Best Disney Day

By: Disney Destinations October 8, 2021

What a week! “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” at Walt Disney World Resort is in full swing, as we kicked off the 50th anniversary festivities on Oct. 1 with all-new experiences and countless magical moments.

Now, we’re gearing up for yet another milestone: We’re excited to share that the previously announced Disney Genie service will launch on Oct. 19 at Walt Disney World Resort!

Available for all of our guests right in the My Disney Experience app, the complimentary Disney Genie service offers new features that let guests create their best Disney day. These features include a personalized itinerary creator that effortlessly and smartly maps out an entire day inspired by the things guests tell us they love – helping them make the most of their park time so they can have more fun.

Similar to a navigation app on a phone, Disney Genie continues to update the guest’s itinerary from morning to night as the day changes, so they can stay spontaneous and go with the flow – whether guests need a nap, encounter an unexpected rain shower or want to take a detour for a Mickey ice cream bar.

Many of you have asked about how this cool new technology works. Behind the scenes, the app is capable of magically evaluating thousands of possible itineraries in seconds – so guests don’t even have to think about it! Disney Genie puts guests at the center of the experience by prioritizing ways to:

  • Reduce time in lines while keeping in mind guest’s top picks
  • Pace the day with experiences guests will enjoy – and haven’t already done yet
  • Build around existing plans like dining reservations and Park Hopper® preferences

Disney Genie uses our 50+ years of knowledge and expertise in how guests visit our parks to make the experience better for everyone.

With this launch, we’ll also be introducing the Lightning Lane entrance. Available for purchase through our Disney Genie+ add-on at more than 40 attractions – or individually, “a la carte” at some of our most highly demanded attractions – the Lightning Lane entrance can save guests time waiting in line.

As a reminder, attractions continue to offer a traditional standby queue or from time to time, a virtual queue may instead be used at select attractions, like right now at Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.

Share Button

Universal Orlando Resort Celebrates The Holiday Season With Nonstop Awesome

Posted by on 2:48 pm in News, Universal Orlando | 0 comments

Universal Orlando Resort Celebrates The Holiday Season With Nonstop Awesome
UOR Holidays Logo.png

 Universal Orlando Resort Celebrates The Holiday Season With Nonstop Awesome Featuring The Return Of Christmas In The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter, Grinchmas And Universal’s Holiday Parade Featuring Macy’s From November 13 – January 2

Get a First Look at This Year’s Holidays Celebration

Universal Orlando Resort’s epic holiday traditions and characters are back, bigger and louder than ever before for 51 days and nights of one-of-a-kind festive experiences during this year’s Holidays celebration beginning November 13 through January 2. Guests can rip open a holiday gift of nonstop awesome where they can join the celebration of Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, meet the maven of mischief himself, The Grinch, during Grinchmas, and experience the larger-than-life return of Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s – and it’s all included with theme park admission.

Here are more details about the incredible experiences guests of all ages can enjoy this holiday season:

Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure

The streets of Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley and London will become beautifully adorned with themed decorations, garlands and lights as the sounds of special holiday-themed performances fill the air. Guests can sip on hot Butterbeer while they listen to Christmas carols from the Frog Choir comprised of Hogwarts students and their giant croaking frogs, as well as the unique holiday hits of one of the wizarding world’s most popular singing sensations, Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees.

Guests can cap off their evening in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure to enjoy “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle” – a spectacular transformation of Hogwarts castle with a stunning projection of holiday spirit and Christmas moments inspired by beloved Harry Potter films.

Grinchmas at Universal’s Islands of Adventure

See the maven of mischief himself during Grinchmas at Universal Orlando where guests can enjoy the “Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular” – a hilarious live retelling of Dr. Seuss’s holiday classic “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” starring The Grinch with special appearances by the merry Whos from Whoville.

And the celebration continues in Seuss Landing, which is completely transformed into a holiday wonderland filled with yuletide décor, including oversized candy canes, Christmas trees, wreaths and beautiful tinsel ornamenting the land. And guests can keep an eye out for resident Whos spreading Who-liday joy as they prepare for their favorite holiday.

Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s at Universal Studios Florida

With the return of Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s, guests can experience the excitement as more than 30 larger-than-life balloons take the streets of Universal Studios Florida, along with appearances by the Minions from Illumination’s Despicable Me and other fan-favorite characters from DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek and Madagascar. This parade also features beautifully decorated floats and hundreds of festive performers that fill the streets with holiday cheer. And guests won’t want to miss the spectacular finale led by the one and only Santa Claus as he passes by and lights the breathtaking 80-foot Christmas Tree that has become a holiday icon at Universal Studios Florida.

In addition to these spectacular experiences, there are even more holiday festivities in store around every corner, including delicious food and beverage options and themed merchandise perfect for gifting that will have guests feeling the holiday spirit throughout their visit.

Share Button

More Live Entertainment, Disney Character Experiences, and Indiana Jones Returning to Walt Disney World Resort This Fall

Posted by on 5:02 pm in Disney Destinations, News | 0 comments

More Live Entertainment, Disney Character Experiences, and Indiana Jones Returning to Walt Disney World Resort This Fall

By: Disney Destinations October 5, 2021

It’s an exciting time to be at Walt Disney World Resort! We just launched The World’s Most Magical Celebration, with dazzling new EARidescent experiences in every corner of our world. Of course, our Cast is at the heart of everything, and since the reopening of our theme parks, Walt Disney World Resort is proud to have returned more than 50,000 Cast Members to work. Now, more than 65,000 are working across the resort, and we are hiring hundreds more each week as we continue to open more resorts and guest locations. Today, we’re thrilled to tell you we’re bringing back more Entertainment Cast Members this fall, as we relaunch some favorite live entertainment experiences at all four theme parks and beyond!

Some of our atmosphere entertainment resumed October 1 with the start of the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration. Early birds at Magic Kingdom Park are now starting their day with “Let the Magic Begin” on the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage, and we’ve welcomed back the ragtime piano player at Casey’s Corner on Main Street, U.S.A. Over at EPCOT, World Showcase travelers are dancing to the Canadian rhythms of Alberta Bound, laughing at the antics of Sergio in Italy, and experiencing the majestic percussion of the Taiko drummers of Matsuriza in Japan.

Next week at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, guests visiting Asia can once again enjoy the music of Chakranad, and Kora Tinga Tinga returns to the streets of Harambe in Africa. And guests can look for the Tam Tam Drummers to come back to Africa in early November. Performers will also soon be captivating guests strolling along the waterfront at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort, and the inimitable Yeehaw Bob will have his audience in stitches of fun starting October 14 in the River Roost Lounge at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside.

Over the past year, beloved Disney Characters have been popping up in cavalcades, motorcades, flotillas, and surprise sightings, much to the delight of our guests, and we’re pleased to tell you many of those experiences will be continuing. Although the environment is not right just yet for hugs and autographs, guests will soon be able to have individualized time with some of their favorite characters, getting to visit with them in a themed location and snap a photo or two. Look for the Disney Princesses to return to Princess Fairytale Hall in Magic Kingdom Park. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, guests will soon find Minnie Mouse at Red Carpet Dreams and the stars of Disney Junior in Animation Courtyard. And when guests stop in to see Mickey Mouse backstage at Town Square Theater on Main Street, U.S.A., he’ll be sporting his all-new EARidescent look designed just for the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration! Each of these locations is planned to start welcoming guests in November.

Nov. 7 also marks the return of “Disney Movie Magic,” the cinematic nighttime experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios celebrating Disney’s live-action film legacy, and when this projection show resumes, it will feature a new sequence from Disney’s epic adventure, “Mulan.” And guests can mark their calendars for December 19, when the cast and crew of “Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular” bring back all the comedy and thrills of that action-packed show.

Live entertainment experiences such as these are among the reasons Walt Disney World Resort truly is The Most Magical Place on Earth. We are incredibly grateful to our cast and guests for the patience they’ve demonstrated as we presented modified forms of some entertainment while continuing to work through the details required to resume others. We’re delighted to be welcoming back so much live entertainment – and so many of our favorite entertainers – this fall and look forward to sharing news about even more additions very soon. Stay tuned for news and updates throughout the 18 months of The World’s Most Magical Celebration!

Share Button