Author Archives: siera

Eight Things You Need to Know About Castaway Cay

From the Disney Parks Blog:

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Most Disney cruises to the Bahamas and Caribbean stop at Castaway Cay, Disney’s gorgeous private island paradise in the Bahamas. With a family beach, an adults only beach, water playgrounds, and more, your whole family will love spending the day here!

Once you choose your tropical getaway to Castaway Cay, be sure to read up on these eight things you need to know about Castaway Cay before you visit …

1. The island is your own slice of Bahamian paradise. Castaway Cay is reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests, and only one ship docks there at a time. This means you get more of that powdery white sand to yourself as you enjoy the island’s lush landscape and turquoise waters. Plus, Bahamian shops and a post office add local flavor to your day in the Abacos.

2. All that you need for a fun beach day is included. Towels, beach chairs, umbrellas? We’ve got you covered. Lunch? A delicious all-you-care-to-eat buffet and soda fountains are steps away from the family beach. The only thing you need to bring is sunblock (though if you forget it, you can always purchase a bottle at one of the island’s shops).

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

3. It’s easy to get around. The dock at Castaway Cay means you’re one step closer to fun in the sun since you don’t need to take a tender boat from the ship. Then it’s just a short walk to the tram, which will take you to various points on the 1,000-acre island. Want a more adventurous way to explore? Rent a bicycle and stretch your sea legs!

4. The island is a haven for water sport enthusiasts. Take a banana boat thrill ride or cast off on a fishing tour. In addition to more than a dozen guided Port Adventures out on the water, paddleboats, water cycles, sea kayaks, sailboats, stand-up paddle boards and snorkel gear are all available to rent.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

5. Your stateroom key card is gold. You’ll need it to get off and on the ship and make purchases on the island. Treat your family to frozen drinks at the Olaf-inspired Summertime Freeze or yourself to Bahamian specialty drinks at one of the bars. Then shop our collection of exclusive Castaway Cay merchandise at She Sells Sea Shells…and Everything Else!

6. There’s something for everyone. Just like on the ship, kids, tweens and teens have activities and spaces designed specifically for them. And while your little ones ages 3-12 are hanging out with the youth counselors at Scuttle’s Cove, you can get some “me time” at our pristine stretch of beach reserved for adults.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

7. Castaway Cay has all the ingredients for fun and relaxation. Fly high above the island on a parasail adventure, snorkel in a 12-acre lagoon, or lounge in a hammock gazing at the crystal-clear waters. Start the day off right with yoga on the beach, or for the ultimate indulgence, schedule a massage in a private cabana at the adult-exclusive Serenity Bay.

8. Disney pals join the fun on the island, too. You won’t want to miss a warm hug from Olaf or a high-five from Goofy. Bring your camera for that perfect photo opp with Mickey and the gang wearing island attire in front of a picturesque backdrop—turquoise water, silky sand and swaying palm trees.

Want a taste of the island life? Check out which of our cruises you can take to visit this one-of-a-kind destination!

Explore the Legend of Grizzly River Run at Disney California Adventure Park

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Buckle up river rafters! Grizzly River Run at Disney California Adventure park is a one-stop destination for thrill-seeking rafters—and you’re invited to take a closer look as we ride up, down and through Grizzly Peak.

The Disney Parks Blog is exploring the thrilling whitewater raft adventure which takes guests down a roaring California river reminiscent of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This mountain also conceals several story elements and fun references which may “peak” your interest!

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

According to legend, long ago a coyote met a grizzly bear on top of the mountain. Seeing that the grizzly was such a powerful creature, the coyote asked him to watch over and protect the land. Even as people came upon the mountain and tried to chase the grizzly bear down, the bear held his ground. When the coyote saw that the bear was alone against the surrounding people, he turned the grizzly into stone so he could never be driven away. To this day, people claim they can hear the bear’s spirit in the wind when traveling through the caverns of Grizzly Peak.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

As you walk through the land of Grizzly Peak, you may notice an assortment of items, including mining equipment. During California’s Gold Rush days, the whitewater rapids became home to the Eureka Gold & Timber Mining Company, when prospectors were drawn to the hope of striking it rich in the Sierras. As time went on and gold began to run dry, people began to realize that the beauty of Grizzly Peak was more precious than gold.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

The rapids we see today are a result of the logging and natural waterways that was important to the business boom brought on by “Gold Fever.” With a twist on this idea, adventure seekers can brace themselves and raft along the rushing waters of the mountain, almost like bobbing, twirling logs, spinning out of control.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Throughout Grizzly Peak, guests are invited take a break from technology, open their minds to conservation, and pledge to help preserve the surrounding land. Wilderness areas and parks allow people to slow down and to appreciate and experience on a person‐to‐person, human scale. By walking about and exploring lands such as Grizzly Peak, visitors can focus on delicate plant life, gentle streams, silent vistas and amazing wildlife.

Do you have a favorite spot near Grizzly River Run to soak in the wild beauty of California? Or do you prefer to get soaked while braving gurgling geysers, jetting water and a splashdown? Comment below!

Siera is a travel agent with Destinations in Florida, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. She would love to help you plan your next vacation at no cost to you. Call her at 734-771-1290 or email her at siera@destinationsinflorida.com for your free, no obligation quote. 

Eight Universal Orlando Vacation Upgrades Worth Every Penny

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

It can make such a difference in the lives of you and your loved ones to take a break, have some fun, and make memories. But we all know that going on vacation can also be expensive, so you want to do it right. Feeling good about the time, money, and effort you put in is important.

Before heading on your Universal Orlando Resort adventure, we’ve got some insider tips to help you choose which Universal Orlando vacation upgrades are the best value.

1. Park-to-Park Tickets: You might think you can do one park at a time, but upgrading your tickets will be the best thing you do all vacation. For $55 more per day, you can have the flexibility to roam all three Universal Orlando theme parks whenever you’d like, making planning so much easier. Not to mention, the only way to board the Hogwarts Express and journey between the two lands of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is with a Park-to-Park ticket.

2. Hotels that Offer Free Express Passes: For perhaps the most surprising value at Universal Orlando, turn to our Premier hotels. They might cost a bit more than the Preferred and Prime Value hotels, but Loews Portofino Bay HotelLoews Royal Pacific Resort, and Hard Rock Hotel all offer free Universal Express Unlimited. This benefit lets you skip the regular lines at Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. You can save up to $129.99 per person and get more time to ride your favorite attractions.

3. My Universal Photos Package: My Universal Photos lets you focus on having fun—we’ll document the memories for you. A one-day pass is $69.99, but you get unlimited digital downloads of photos from your rides and character meet-and-greets. This is especially valuable if you have little ones and don’t want to deal with the hassle of digging out your phone and missing that special moment. And on-ride photos are normally $19.95, so if you plan to go home with more than a couple of those, this package will help.

4. Volcano Bay Premium Seating: If you don’t want to spring for an entire cabana at Volcano Bay, a great option is Premium Seating. Beach chairs can go fast and lockers cost money. But with this upgrade, you get a pair of reserved padded loungers with an adjustable shade canopy and a built-in storage lockbox for only $29.99. Plus, you can enjoy the services of an area attendant who’ll see to your food and drink orders, delivering them right to your seats. It is so worth it to make your chill day the chillest.

5. Refillable Cups and Buckets: Drink water or soda all day long when you purchase a refillable Coca-Cola freestyle cup. Machines are located throughout the parks, and for $14.99, you’ll never go thirsty in the Florida heat. You can also keep the snacking going when you purchase a $5.99 popcorn bucket with the option of $1.29 refills. Just ask for either at the nearest beverage counter, quick service restaurant, or full-service restaurant.

6. Shutterbutton’s DVD Photo Album: You should definitely consider the Shutterbutton’s experience in Diagon Alley if you’ve got fans of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in your party. You’ll be guided through 12 scenes taken from iconic locations, you’ll choose your outfits, and after a bit of acting, you’ll create a portrait of yourself that actually moves. DVD photo albums are an amazing keepsake! The whole afternoon will be memorable enough to warrant the cost.

7. Blue Man Group Tickets: When it comes to entertainment, you can’t get much better than this fusion of comedy, theater, rock concert, and dance party. It’s a Broadway-caliber production right here at Universal Orlando. With tickets starting at $60 for adults, you won’t regret spending a night taking in a show you won’t forget.

8. Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort Cabana Rentals: When it’s time to take a break from the parks, cabana rentals can be a great option for groups staying at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Up to six people can enjoy amenities like an LCD TV, an in-house telephone to order delivery pizza, an armoire, table, cushioned lounge chairs, and a refrigerator. You can spend a full day recharging with everything your family will need within arms reach. Prices may vary, but they start around $50/day.

Thanks Universal Orlando Resort Blog!

Storybook Dining at Artist Point Opens December 16, 2018

From the Disney Parks Blog:

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Magic mirror on the wall, who’s the hungriest of them all? If you’re looking to partake in a fanciful meal set in an immersive enchanted forest, then you might want to make a visit to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge this winter. Starting this December, Storybook Dining at Artist Point invites you to venture into a magical forest-like setting inspired by Walt Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Brought to life through rustic décor and iconic music, we’ve brought this beloved fairytale to life. During this immersive character dining experience, you’ll be visited by Snow White and a few of her forest-dwelling friends. You might even have an evil encounter with the Queen!

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

In addition to fun characters, tempt your taste buds with a seasonal themed menu that combines classic dishes with playful presentation. You’ll begin your story with an array of delicious shared appetizers: Hunter’s Pie with chicken, black truffle, and stone fruit preserve; Winter Squash Bisque with caramel loli and granola served in an adorable black cauldron; Wicked Shrimp Cocktail with soy, miso, avocado, thai chili, and greens; and From the Garden, an array of fruits, vegetables, cheese, and create-your-own honey butter.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

For the main entrées, you’ll enjoy your choice of one of the many unique dishes such as the Royal Prime Rib Roast with horseradish mashed potato, hay-smoked carrots, popover, and jus as well as Magic Mirror Slow Braised Veal Shank with mashed celery root, wilted winter greens, and jus. Or if seafood is more your style, try the Seafood Stew with shrimp, bay scallops, mussels, tomato, and fennel.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Kids can enjoy Grumpy’s Grub. This includes the same appetizers and desserts as the main menu and their choice of entrée. Kid’s entrées include the Princess Pasta (with your choice of red sauce or cheese sauce), the Vegetarian Steam Bun (with crip shiitake, hoisin, pickles, and cilantro), Royal Prime Rib Roast, and Grilled Chicken (both served with roasted potatoes and broccolini).

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Give your story a sweet ending with an array of shared desserts for the table. Sing “Heigh Ho” as you discover The Miner’s Treasure made up of sponge cake, chocolate gems, and buttercream icing or enjoy the enchanted flavors of the Fairy Tale Gooseberry Pie with meringue. You can even try a “Poison” Apple made of white chocolate apple mousse with a sour center. But if you’re trying to impress, The Hunter’s Gift to the Queen is just the thing with crackled maple popcorn and ganache hearts.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

If you’re feeling a little thirsty while you’re eating, try some of the wickedly refreshing cocktails and non-alcoholic mocktails we’ve brewed up just for you! For the adults, sip on the Enchanted Apple with citrus vodka, sour apple, and white cranberry juice or summon The Smoking Mirror with scotch, wildberry, lime, and rosemary smoke. If you’re feeling particularly evil, you’ll love the Evil to the Core with silver tequila, habanero, blackberry and orange juice. A variety of beers are also available along with a selection of highly-rated wines from Oregon and Washington State.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Non-alcoholic options for the little miners out there include the Transformation Potion with sparkling lemonade and the Stone Fruit and Berry Breeze with herbal tea infusion.

Snow White has invited all of her new friends to this magical character dining experience, and she’s inviting you too! So make a journey to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge to experience Storybook Dining at Artist Point starting December 16, 2018. Pricing is $55 for adults and $33 for children ages 3-9 (tax and gratuity not included). Each guest will receive one of each appetizer, their choice of entrée, and one of each dessert as well as their choice of non-alcoholic fountain beverage (alcoholic and non-alcoholic specialty beverages are not included). All menu items are subject to change.

For a full menu and to make reservations, visit the Walt Disney World Resort website or call (407) WDW-DINE (407 939-3463).

Complete List of 2018 Epcot International Festival of the Holidays Menus

From the Disney Parks Blog:

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

The 2018 Epcot International Festival of the Holidays runs from November 18 through December 30, 2018. Celebrating joyous holiday traditions from around the globe, this festival returns to Epcot once again with festivities including the ever-popular Candlelight Processional (starting Nov. 22) as well as festive decorations and unforgettable entertainment.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

With 12 Holiday Kitchens as well as additional locations throughout the park, there are deliciously festive dishes around every corner. New at this year’s festival are a host of new items at Feast of the Three Kings as well as a WHOLE NEW HOLIDAY KITCHEN! The new L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen features traditional Jewish dishes such as Pastrami on Rye, Chicken and Matzo Ball Soup, Egg Cream, and more.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

And what would the holidays be without cookies? You won’t want to miss out on the official Holiday Cookie Stroll! Purchase any 5 cookies from any of the official cookie stroll locations noted in your Passport, making sure to collect a matching stamp for each cookie purchased. Once you’ve collected 5 stamps, bring the stamped Passport to Holiday Sweets & Treats for a complimentary completer cookie! How fun is that? This fun activity is great for the kids, and can be completed at your own leisure. You can also bring back your stamped Passport to Epcot at any time during the festival to complete your stroll.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

If you’re wanting all of the info on the menus for this year’s Epcot International Festival of the Holidays, this list is packed with unique dishes, holiday cocktails, and beverages as well as the classics like cookies, eggnog, gingerbread treats, hot cocoa, and more. Check out all the yummy details below! And if you’re looking for more information on the festival or to book Candlelight Processional Dining Packages, visit the Walt Disney World website.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

BAVARIA HOLIDAY KITCHEN (GERMANY)
Food Items:

  • Potato Dumpling with Mushroom Sauce (Kid-Approved)
  • Sauerbraten, Red Cabbage and Spätzle
  • Cheese Fondue in a Bread Bowl with Fresh Steamed Baby Vegetables and Marble Potatoes featuring Melissa’s Produce (Vegetarian) (Kid-Approved)
  • Black Forest Roulade with Cherry Whipped Cream
  • Peppermint Sugar Cookie (Vegetarian)

Beverages:

  • Possmann Pure Hard Apple Cider, Frankfurt, Germany
  • Possmann Pure Hard Black Currant Apple Cider, Frankfurt, Germany
  • Schöfferhofer Pomegranate Hefeweizen, Frankfurt, Germany
  • Cider Flight
  • Regional Riesling
  • Glühwein: House-made Hot Spiced Wine

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

AMERICAN HOLIDAY TABLE (THE AMERICAN ADVENTURE)
Food Items:

  • Slow-roasted Turkey with Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans and Cranberry Sauce (Kid-Approved)
  • Hand-carved Smoked Ham with Green Beans and Sweet Potato Casserole (Gluten/Wheat Friendly) (Kid-Approved)
  • Chocolate Pecan Tart with Whipped Cream and Caramel Sauce (Vegetarian)
  • Red and Green Chocolate Chip Cookie (Vegetarian)

Beverages:

  • American Heritage Milk Chocolate Gourmet Hot Cocoa with Wondermade Marshmallows (non-alcoholic) (Kid-Approved)
  • Orange Blossom Brewing Cranberry Kringle Pilsner, Orlando, FL
  • Shipyard Eggnog White Porter, Clearwater, FL
  • JDub’s Season’s Greetings Peppermint Milk Stout, Sarasota, FL
  • Holiday Beer Flight
  • Cocoa Candy Cane: American Heritage Milk Chocolate Hot Cocoa with Peppermint Schnapps

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

YUKON HOLIDAY KITCHEN (CANADA)
Food Items:

  • Seared Salmon with Crown Maple Whisky Glaze, Parsnip Silk, Apple Chutney and Hazelnut Croquant
  • Traditional French Canadian Tourtiere with Canadian Ketchup (Kid-Approved)
  • Maple Bûche de Noël: Maple Mousse rolled in Gingerbread Chiffon Cake with Cranberry Sauce and Pecan Crumble (Vegetarian) (Kid-Approved)
  • Gold Chocolate Chip Cookie (Vegetarian)

Beverages:

  • Frozen Coffee (non-alcoholic)
  • Unibroue Éphémère Strawberry and Rhubarb
  • Inniskillin Riesling Icewine
  • Inniskillin Pearl Vidal Icewine
  • Inniskillin Gold Oak Icewine
  • Ice Wine Flight
  • Frozen Coffee with Tap 357 Whisky

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

FEAST OF THE THREE KINGS (SHOWCASE PLAZA)
Food Items:

  • Pastelón: Sofrito-marinated Beef with Sweet Plantains and Olives (Gluten/Wheat Friendly)
  • Queso Fresco-stuffed Arepa topped with Shrimp, Crushed Avocado Aji and Tomato Sauce (Gluten/Wheat Friendly)
  • Arepas topped with Melted Queso Fresco (Vegetarian) (Gluten/Wheat Friendly) (Kid-Approved)
  • Tres Leches Rice Pudding with Pumpkin Seeds (Gluten/Wheat Friendly)
  • Green and White Sugar Cookie (Vegetarian)

Beverages:

  • Coquito: Tropical Eggnog (non-alcoholic) (Kid-Approved)
  • M.I.A. Beer Company Trey Reyes Mango Golden
  • Coquito: Tropical Eggnog with a Bacardi Gold Dark Rum Floater

HOLIDAY SWEETS & TREATS (SHOWCASE PLAZA)
Food Items:

  • Peppermint Sundae: Chocolate Ice Cream, Whipped Cream, and Peppermint Candy (Gluten/Wheat Friendly) (Kid-Approved)
  • Holiday Tree Sugar Cookie (Vegetarian)
  • Holiday Cookie Stroll Completer Cookie – Red and Green Mickey Sugar Cookie (Vegetarian)

Beverages:

  • Hot Cocoa (non-alcoholic) (Kid-Approved)
  • TG Lee Eggnog (non-alcoholic)
  • Chocolate Apple Shake featuring Twinings Winter Spice Tea (non-alcoholic)
  • Shipyard Eggnog White Porter, Clearwater, FL
  • Hot Cocoa with Assorted Cordials (Baileys Irish Cream, Frangelico Liqueur or Fireball Cinnamon Whisky)
  • Firenog: T.G. Lee Eggnog with Fireball Cinnamon Whisky
  • Chocolate Apple Shake featuring Twinings® Winter Spice Tea and Butterscotch Schnapps

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

L’CHAIM! HOLIDAY KITCHEN (BETWEEN MOROCCO AND FRANCE)
Food Items:

  • Pastrami on Rye with House-made Pickles and Deli Mustard
  • Potato Knish with Herb Sour Cream (Vegetarian) (Kid-Approved)
  • Chicken and Matzo Ball Soup
  • Black and White Cookie (Vegetarian)

Beverages:

  • Egg Cream: Milk, Chocolate Syrup and Seltzer (non-alcoholic)
  • Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn Lager
  • Blue Cosmo Cocktail

REFRESHMENT OUTPOST (NEAR AFRICA OUTPOST)
Food Items:

  • Warm Caramel Stuffed Salted Pretzel with Soft-serve Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce (Kid-Approved)

Beverage Items:

  • Shipyard Eggnog White Porter, Clearwater, FL

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

REFRESHMENT PORT (NEAR CANADA)
Food Items:

  • Turkey Poutine: Sweet Potato Fries with Turkey Gravy, Cranberry Relish and Crispy Onions

Beverage Items:

  • Eggnog Shake (non-alcoholic)
  • Eggnog Shake with Baileys Irish Cream

FIFE & DRUM (THE AMERICAN ADVENTURE)
Food Items:

  • Holiday Apple Pie Sundae with Soft-serve Ice Cream, Caramel Sauce and Crunchy Streusel Topping (Kid-Approved)

Beverage Items:

  • Budweiser Reserve Collection Copper Lager

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

TASTE TRACK (NEAR TEST TRACK)
Food Items:

  • Croissant Doughnut tossed in Cinnamon Sugar
  • Croissant Doughnut with Chocolate and Holiday Sprinkles (Kid-Approved)
  • Croissant Doughnut with Eggnog Pastry Cream and Gingersnap Crumbs
  • Gelato

Beverage Items:

  • Pancake Milkshake (non-alcoholic) (Kid-Approved)
  • Banfi Rosa Regale Sparkling Red

LE MARCHE DE NOËL HOLIDAY KITCHEN (FRANCE)
Food Items:

    • Napoléon de Saumon Fumé, Brioche à L’aneth: Smoked Salmon Napoleon in a Dill Brioche
    • Bouchée à la Reine Traditionnelle: Turkey and Mushrooms in a Veloute Cream Sauce served in a Light Puff Pastry
    • Bûche de Noël au Chocolat “Christmas Log”: Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Caramel Ganache

(Kid-Approved)

Beverage Items:

  • Spiced Rum Punch Slush: Spiced Rum, Rhum Clement V.S.O.P., Orange and Pineapple Juice with Cinnamon
  • Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot Blend, Château La Grand Moulin, Blaye, Côtes de Bordeaux
  • Holiday Kir: Sparking Wine and Monin Cranberry Syrup
  • Willm, Brut Blanc de Blanc Sparking Wine

SAPPHIRE HOLIDAY KITCHEN (MOROCCO)
Food Items:

  • Grilled Lamb Kefta Kebab with Whole Wheat Pita, Cucumber, Olives, Tomatoes, Mint Yogurt Sauce and Harissa-cilantro Dressing
  • Confit of Chermoula Chicken Drum with Cinnamon Granny Smith Apple, Toasted Almonds, Brussels Sprouts and Pinot Noir Glaze
  • “Sfenj” – Warm Beignets with Cream, Cinnamon Sugar, Toasted Almonds and Chocolate Sauce

Beverage Items:

  • Casa Beer
  • Kasbah Prestige Red Wine
  • The Andalusian “Poinsettia” Cocktail: Sparking Wine, Orange Liqueur and Cranberry Juice topped with Orange Blossom Water
  • Walnut Spiced Coffee with Walnut Liqueur and topped with Cinnamon and Whipped Cream

TUSCANY HOLIDAY KITCHEN (ITALY)
Food Items:

  • Cavatappi ai Quattro Formaggi: Baked Four-Cheese Pasta, Parmesan Crumble and Truffle Essence (Kid-Approved)
  • Mozzarella in Carozza: Golden-crusted Fried Mozzarella Sandwich and Tomato Sauce (Kid-Approved)
  • Crespelle di Mele: Cinnamon Apple Fritters and a Vanilla Sauce Drizzle with Chocolate Caramel Sauce
  • Bacio al Cioccolato: Warm Hazelnut Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Mascarpone Cream
  • Panettone Mignon: Miniature Traditional Italian Christmas Fruitcake

Beverage Items:

  • Moretti Lager
  • Moretti La Rossa Double Malt Beer
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Chianti
  • Prosecco
  • Corbinello
  • Moscato

SHANGHAI HOLIDAY KITCHEN (CHINA) 
Food Items:

  • Pork and Vegetable Egg Rolls (Kid-Approved)
  • Mongolian Beef Bao Bun and a Fortune Cookie
  • Celebration Barbecue Pork with Steamed Rice and a Fortune Cookie
  • Spicy Mala Chicken with Steamed Rice and a Fortune Cookie

Beverage Items:

  • Sweetened Bubble Milk Tea: Mango Flavored Milk Tea with Tapioca Pearls (non-alcoholic)
  • Jasmine Beer
  • Plum Wine

SHI WASU HOLIDAY KITCHEN (JAPAN)
Food Items:

  • New Year Celebration Soba: Buckwheat Soba Noodles in Hot Dashi Soup with Chicken and Spinach
  • Holiday Green Tea “Yule Log”: Delicate Spongecake rolled with Whipped Cream Filling

Beverages:

  • Ichigo Milk Boba: Popping Strawberry Boba Cream Drink with Japanese Calpico (non-alcoholic)
  • Sapporo Draft Beer
  • Cinnamon Apple Cider: Plum Wine, Orange Juice with Lemonade and Apples

LAS POSADAS HOLIDAY KITCHEN (MEXICO)
Food Items:

  • Enchilada de Pollo con Mole: Chipotle Chicken in a Corn Tortilla topped with Mole Negro and garnished with Shredded Oaxaca Cheese and Sesame Seeds
  • Tamal de Camarón: Corn Tamal stuffed with Guajillo-marinated Shrimp topped with Mole Rojo and Shredded Cotija Cheese
  • Arroz Con Leche: Rice Pudding with Cranberries

Beverages:

  • Cerveza Mexicana Artesanal: Allende Mexican Craft Ale served with a Floater of Kahlúa
  • Noche Buena Margarita: Libélula Joven Tequila, Cranberry and Lime Juices and Agave Nectar topped with Lime Foam and Sprinkles
  • La Posada Margarita: Cazadores Blanco Tequila, Horchata-Cinnamon Liqueur, and Agua de Horchata topped with Cinnamon

ADDITIONAL FESTIVAL LOCATIONS:

L’Artisan Des Glaces

  • Glace au Pain d’Epices: Gingerbread Ice Cream with Gingerbread Pieces (Kid-Approved)

Boulagnerie Patisserie Les Halles

  • Bûche de Noël au Chocolate: Chocolate Christmas Log with Chocolate Mint Cream Mousse and Chocolate Crunch Biscuit (Kid-Approved)

UK Beer Cart

  • T.G. Lee Eggnog (non-alcoholic)
  • T.G. Lee Eggnog with Irish Whiskey

UK Tea Caddy

  • Twinings Iced Christmas Toddy: Twinings Iced Christmas Tea with Honey (non-alcoholic) (Kid-Approved)
  • Twinings Iced Christmas Toddy: Twinings Iced Christmas Tea with Honey & Drambuie

Norway- Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe

  • Traditional Holiday Rice Cream

Fountain View Café

  • Mickey Santa Hat Cupcake

Canada Popcorn Cart

  • Pecan Maple Bark featuring Crown Maple Sugar

Funnel Cake (The American Adventure)

  • Pumpkin Spice Funnel Cake

Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company

  • Future World East: Mistletoe Mile – Brown Jug Bourbon Cream with Eggnog topped with Whipped Cream and a dash of Cinnamon
  • Canada: Naughty and Nice – Grey Goose and Kahlúa with Eggnog topped with Whipped Cream and a dash of Cinnamon
  • Showcase Plaza: Rum Rudolph – RumChata with Eggnog topped with Whipped Cream and a dash of Cinnamon
  • The American Adventure: Cheerful Elf – Baileys Salted Caramel with Eggnog topped with Whipped Cream and a dash of Cinnamon

Top Ten Must Do’s at Universal Studios Florida

You’re at Universal Orlando’s Universal Studios Florida. What do you need to do that will leave everyone at home wishing they were you? Here are the top ten must do’s at Universal Studios Florida:

1. Join Your Favorite Wizards on Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

Plunge into the depths of Diagon Alley’s famed Gringotts bank as you encounter dragons, trolls, and Voldemort himself.

2. Practice Performing Spells at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley

Witches and wizards can practice their spell casting throughout The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley. Haven’t had a wand choose you yet? Be sure to check out Ollivanders or Wands by Gregorovitch when you arrive.

3. Become an actual Minion on Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

Gru is recruiting Minions for his latest scheme, and good news: it looks like you’re the perfect candidate.

4. Head to Studio 6B for Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon

Visit the famed Studio 6B for a unique tour of the Big Apple. Don’t forget to stop and smell the pizza.

5. Jam out on Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

Select a song and prepare to rock on this coaster that takes you up a 90-degree angle before dropping you back down at 65 mph.

6. Help Optimus Prime and Bumblebee save mankind on Transformers: The Ride 3-D

It’s time for someone to take down Megatron and the Decepticons, and that someone could be you.

7. Dare to Eat an Entire Lard Lad Donut in The Simpsons’ Springfield, U.S.A.

Giant pink-iced donuts, Brain Freezin’ D’oh-Nut Sundaes, delectable cupcakes… Need we say more?

8. Flee From the Evil Imhotep on Revenge of the Mummy

Forwards or backwards – you’ll barely be able to tell which way you’re moving on this dark coaster. All you’ll care about is avoiding the swarm of insects, mummies, fire…

9. Boogie down with popular characters in the Superstar Parade

Seriously. Where else can you dance with Gru and the Minions, Dora and Diego, plus the one and only SpongeBob SquarePants?

10. Wipe out the scum of the universe on MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack

Aliens have taken over New York and we’re arming you with a blaster to zap them into oblivion. Rack up points and get ready for a lifetime of bragging rights.

What are your favorite must do’s at Universal Studios Florida experiences? Tell us in the comments below!

Siera is a travel agent with Destinations in Florida, Universal Studios Travel Agency of the Year 2010, 2011, & 2012. She would love to help you plan your next Universal Orlando vacation at no cost to you. Contact Siera today at siera@destinationsinflorida.com or at 734-771-1290 for more information or your free, no obligation quote. 

New Tony’s Most Merriest Town Square Party for 2018 Christmas Parties

From the Disney Parks Blog:

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a festive and joyous experience for guests of all ages, and new for 2018, you can make it even more magical with Tony’s Most Merriest Town Square Party!

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

At this new and special experience beginning at 9:30 p.m., you can pop in and out at your leisure and indulge in savory hors d’oeuvres including a selection of artisanal meats and cheeses as well as Tony’s famous meatballs, mini hand-tossed pizzas, boursin-stuffed artichoke and more! And if you’re wanting to satisfy that sweet tooth, then you can snack on pumpkin tartlets, Yule Logs, cannoli, Christmas cookies, and red velvet cupcakes.

To go along with this festive array of dishes, raise a glass to the spirit of the season with a selection of complementary beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages. While you eat, enjoy a holiday atmosphere and views of Town Square and Main Street, U.S.A

The party doesn’t stop there! At 11:00 p.m., you’ll have access to a special reserved viewing area for the truly enchanting Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade as it makes its way down Main Street, U.S.A. The festive procession includes dancing gingerbread men, marching toy soldiers and beloved Disney characters in their holiday finery. And the party continues until 12:30 a.m., ever longer than Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party!

Tony’s Most Merriest Town Square Party is available for $99 per person (plus tax) every Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party event night at Magic Kingdom Park. Admission to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is required to attend.

Reservations are now available online or by calling 407-827-7348. Space is limited and will fill up fast, so book your reservation soon!

Everything You Need to Know About Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2018

From the Disney Parks Blog:

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Are you planning a visit to Walt Disney World Resort for the holidays? Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom Park is an absolute must-do event during the holiday season. This in-park party celebrates the season with lovely decor, glittering holiday lights, special photo opportunities, snow on Main Street, U.S.A., and entertainment you have to see to believe!

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2018, which requires a special ticket to attend, will be held on the following nights: November 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 25, 27 and 29; and December 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20 and 21. Party fun takes place from 7 p.m.-midnight, although party ticket holders may enter the park as early as 4 p.m. to enjoy regular park offerings.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

The must-see offering, “A Frozen Holiday Wish,” kicks off the fun each night at dusk. Guests arriving early for the party can watch as royal sisters Anna and Elsa lead a celebration for their friends on the Castle Forecourt Stage that culminates in Queen Elsa using her incredible powers to transform Cinderella Castle into a shimmering ice palace for the holidays.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

The “Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration” stage show brings in Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy and Pluto, and many others who drop by on Mickey’s party dressed in their Christmas best, ready to ring in the season with holidays with carols, old and new.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Another can’t-miss moment is the “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade.” This enchanting holiday procession features marching toy soldiers, dancing gingerbread men, Disney characters, Santa Claus and more!

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Then the highlight of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party night is “Holiday Wishes Fireworks– Celebrate the Spirit of the Season,” a special fireworks show set to holiday tunes that light up the sky above Magic Kingdom Park.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

The party also offers guests complimentary hot cocoa and cookies, party exclusive character greeting opportunities – with familiar faces like Jack Skellington as Sandy Claws and Scrooge McDuck – plus event-exclusive merchandise and special holiday treats.

Top 12 Best Universal Orlando Resort Hotel Rooms

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

All of the resort hotel rooms at Universal Orlando Resort are absolutely amazing. Whatever your style is, you can find the perfect hotel and room for you, but these 12 Universal Orlando Resort hotel rooms are what dreams are made of and I’d be more than happy moving into any one of them right this minute.

1. Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort 2-Bedroom Suites

Volcano. Views. Enough said. These two-bedroom suites can sleep up to EIGHT people. So grab all your friends or family and get to it. How cool would it be to hang out together in the living room area with a backdrop of a beautiful volcano?

2. Loews Royal Pacific Resort Jurassic World Kids’ Suite

The new Jurassic World Kids’ Suites will make your little ones feel as if they’ve stepped onto the island of Isla Nublar from Jurassic World. They even get to sleep inside their very own gyrospheres! Learn all about these kids’ suites here.

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

3. Loews Portofino Bay Hotel Despicable Me Kids’ Suite

Aren’t these just the cutest?! These Kids’ Suites let your little ones experience the playfulness of Gru’s laboratory. Kids get the opportunity to sleep in missile beds just like Edith, Margo and Agnes! The suites feature one King bed and two Twin beds. This room, like the other Kids’ Suites, has a connecting room that opens only to the King room.

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

4. Hard Rock Hotel Orlando Graceland Suite

The Graceland Suite is the ultimate way to live like a king at Hard Rock Hotel. It includes an oversized tub (with an unbelievable view of the parks), walk-in closet, personal gym and a baby grand piano. It even has a glass fireplace in it that separates the bedroom from the bathroom.

5. Hard Rock Hotel Orlando Future Rock Star Suite

Do you have a future rock star in your family? This suite is for them! The Future Rock Star Suite features a King bedroom and an attached themed room for your little rock star. This gives you plenty of space to rent a guitar from the front desk and rock out on the stage in the room.

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

6. Loews Royal Pacific Resort Presidential Suite

These sophisticated South Seas-inspired suites are enough to make you feel like you’ve been transported to a true island oasis. I’d be more than happy just moving into the bathroom in this suite! It’s basically like having your own private spa.

7. Loews Royal Pacific Resort Hospitality Parlor Suite

The Hospitality Parlor Suite is the perfect place for entertaining! If you book the connecting King room and the connecting Queen room, this room could sleep up to 10 people! The decor in this suite is very island chic. The parlor is between the King and Queen rooms making the parlor the perfect meeting ground, hangout spot as they start getting ready for dinner and a relaxing space after a day at the parks before everyone’s ready to hit the hay. Speaking of dinner, it has an incredible kitchen giving you plenty of space to fix up all your favorite dishes.

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

8. Loews Sapphire Falls Sapphire Suite

This suite is gorgeous and spacious! It even has a perfect view of Loews Royal Pacific Resort and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. The decor makes you feel as if you’ve been transported to a beautiful island oasis.

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

9. Loews Sapphire Falls Resort Presidential Suite

Can we just take a moment and talk about how beautiful this suite is? All I need is a faux bear skin rug, chandeliers and sunset views and I’m set for life! Oh and did I mention, this suite even has a personal Peloton bike in it? Well, it does. You can spin and take in amazing views.

10. Loews Sapphire Falls Resort Kids Suite

These Kids’ Suites are just so perfect. The octopus design from the wall to the floor gives the room so much life. These Kids’ Suites, like the others, have a connecting room that only opens to the room with a King room, giving parents peace of mind and a little privacy.

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

11. Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort Family Suite

The Family Suites at Cabana Bay are perfect for larger families who aren’t looking to break the bank! These rooms sleep up to six people and feature a pullout sofa to give you plenty of space to hang out with your friends and family during the day and space for everyone to sleep. This suite features a sliding partition that allows those that are sleeping on the pull out a bit of privacy from those sleeping on the Queen beds. The kids can be napping while mom and dad are having a few moments of R&R watching TV (or planning the next day at the parks).

12. Loews Portofino Bay Hotel Presidente Suite

This suite is not only big on the inside. It also has the ultimate view of the Harbor Piazza from a balcony and a separate terrace. It is the perfect place to watch the sun go down, enjoy a glass of wine, snack on the finest cheeses and listen to the beautiful Musica della Notte opera singers at sunset…#goals.

Thanks Universal Orlando Resort Blog

Six Reasons to take a Mexican Riviera Cruise on the Disney Wonder

From the Disney Parks Blog:

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

The Disney Wonder sets sail from San Diego to the Mexican Riviera, visiting an eclectic mix of Mexico’s most popular ports of call: Cabo San LucasMazatlán and Puerto Vallarta. If you’re planning a Mexican Riviera cruise on the Disney Wonder, here’s what you and your family can expect …

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Beaches, beaches and more beaches. You may recognize Cabo San Lucas for its dramatic rock formations, but did you know it also has 20 different major beaches with white sand and turquoise waters? Puerto Vallarta also offers a number of spectacular beaches (40 to be exact), while Mazatlán boasts 10 miles of palm-lined, silky sands.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Water sports galore. The Mexican Riviera is known for all types of water activities, from sailing and parasailing, to boating and jet skiing, to scuba diving, snorkeling and fishing. The outdoor sports mecca of Cabo is famous for fishing, earning a reputation as the billfish capital of the world. If water sports are your thing, your playground awaits.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Open-air adventures. Those who prefer adventure on land can enjoy the sunshine with golf, horseback riding, nature hikes, bike rides and more. For a, adrenaline rush, embark on a 4-wheeling excursion through the jungle, take in extraordinary views from a zipline or explore a secluded beach high atop a camel.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Local culture. Mazatlán’s daily downtown market, Centro Mercado, is brimming with handmade clothing and goods, and the artesian markets in Cabo offer an array of local handicrafts and souvenirs, such as silver, ceramics and wood carvings. In Puerto Vallarta, soak up the culture with Mariachi bands, woven Huichol Indian art and traditionally dressed cowboys when the locals celebrate a special occasion.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

A playground at sea. When the deep blue waters of the Pacific are the day’s “destination,” the Disney Wonder offers fun and relaxation for the entire family. Pools for families, children and adults, plus fanciful kids clubs (with Marvel Super Hero Academy!), a sports deck, a luxurious spa retreat, and much more, will keep you happy from morning to night.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

World-class entertainment and dining. Each night onboard the Disney Wonder, you’ll be treated to Broadway-caliber musicals – including “Frozen, A Musical Spectacular” – lively deck parties and plenty of other activities the entire family can enjoy. Our signature dining includes family-friendly restaurants, like the spirited Tiana’s Place, and the adult-exclusive Palo, serving up delicious cuisine and a one-of-a-kind dining experience at every meal.