Category Archives: Orlando

How to Use My Universal Photos at Universal Orlando Resort

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

There are two ways most people go about taking photos on vacation: having someone in your party not be in the photo or asking a stranger to take the photo for you. However, at Universal Orlando Resort, you have an ideal third option—My Universal Photos.

My Universal Photos takes the stress out of your vacation by helping you capture your unforgettable experiences here and share them with friends and family. With all of the awesome photo opportunities throughout the parks, we’ve got you covered—whether you’re screaming your face off on one of our high-speed coasters or coming face-to-face with spectacular, cinematic icons.

Here’s how it works:

1. Purchase Your Preferred Package

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

My Universal Photos has three different packages to make sure you’re properly set up for your day (or days) of play:

  • 1-Day Photo Package: This package gives you one full day of photos at any of our three parks with exclusive pricing on park photo prints and unlimited digital downloads. It also includes a My Universal Photos themed lanyard and card, discounts on photo gift products, as well as one 4×6 and one 5×7 photo print at time of purchase.
  • 3-Day Photo Package: This option allows up to three consecutive days of photos in the parks beginning on the day you pick up your My Universal Photos lanyard and card. You also receive one free 5×7 print in a folder and one free 4×6 print valid in-park or online, plus a few other exclusive discounts.
  • 1-Day Photo Package at Volcano Bay: If you’re just looking for a slice of Waturi paradise, this package is for you. With your one day of photos at Universal’s Volcano Bay (as with all packages), you get unlimited digital downloads and the ability to view and share your photos forever.

2. Time to Have Some Fun!

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

Once you’ve ordered your package, show your confirmation email at a merchandise location where Universal Express Pass is sold or at the My Universal Photos stores in the parks. A Team Member will give you your photo card and then you’re all set! There are three different ways to capture your vacation memories:

  • Have one of our professional photographers scan your card before taking a photo.
  • Scan it yourself at one of our selfie stations.
  • Scan it at a kiosk at the end of any participating rides.

The photos automatically show up on your My Universal Photos account, which you’ll be emailed a password and link to.

3. Photos at Your Fingertips

Make your friends jealous by sharing your adventures with the Amazing Pictures Mobile App. Download the app and log in with your email address and the password you were given. The photos you take during your day will be uploaded automatically. Once you see them, share them to your heart’s content. Click on a photo and send it via text, post it on social media, or even just download it to your camera roll. It’s super easy to share the fun.

4. Memories that Last a Lifetime

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

Relive your fun-filled moments and choose which ones you want to keep forever. When you’re in the park, head to a standalone photo store or a ride photo location to get an individual print. You can also order prints of your favorite pics from home or print them on items like mugs, Christmas ornaments and more. There are tons of products to choose from.

It’s as simple as that. With over 30 locations to smile or scream, all you need to worry about is deciding which ride to go on next. Say cheese!

Complete Guide to the 2019 Epcot International Festival of the Arts Food

From the Disney Parks Blog:

Photo: Disney Parks Blog

Grab those paintbrushes and get ready to please your palate with the colorful flavors of the 2019 Epcot International Festival of the Arts! Highlighting the visual, performing, and culinary arts, the festival runs from January 18 to February 25, 2019, and features 13 Food Studios along with other festival-exclusive dishes served at various locations throughout the park. From sweet and savory to spicy and scrumptious, this year’s menus are decorated with a whole gallery of items including returning favorites as well as new items that will dazzle your taste buds. This colorful fare paints a yummy picture of culinary perfection presented throughout Future World and World Showcase.

In addition, guests can savor show-stopping cuisine with a side of sizzling Disney Broadway hits with the Disney on Broadway Concert Series Dining Packages. You can feast on the finest fare from around the world at participating restaurants before enjoying guaranteed seating at one of three concerts held the same day. For more information and to book a dining package, visit the Walt Disney World Resort website or call 407 WDW-DINE (407 939-3463). Bookings are available for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

As for the menus for the wonderful Food Studios sprinkled throughout the park, here’s your complete Guide to the 2019 Epcot International Festival of the Arts food!

GF – Gluten-Friendly
V – Vegetarian

Photo: Disney Parks Blog

The Deconstructed Dish (Located in Showcase Plaza)

Food Items:

  • Deconstructed Reuben with Shredded Corned Beef, Thousand Island Dressing, Pickled Red Cabbage, and a Rye Curl
  • Deconstructed BLT with Crispy Pork Belly, Tomato Jam, and Soft Poached Egg
  • Deconstructed Strawberry Cheesecake: Whipped New York Style Cheesecake with Fresh Florida Strawberries, Sugar Cookies and Micro-basil


  • Pop-Artsicle: Red, White, and Blue Frozen Slushy (Non-alcoholic)
  • Deconstructed Breakfast: Twinings® Spiced Apple Chai Tea Shake garnished with Maple Syrup, a Waffle Crisp and Candied Bacon (Non-alcoholic)
  • Imagery Sauvignon Blanc, California
  • Mad Genius Red Blend, California
  • Deconstructed Breakfast: Twinings® Spiced Apple Chai Tea Shake with Cream Bourbon garnished with a Waffle Crisp and Candied Bacon
Photo: Disney Parks Blog

The Artist’s Table (Located in The American Adventure)

Food Items:

  • Beef Wellington with Mushroom Bordelaise, Fennel Cream, and Roasted Baby Vegetables
  • Pan-Seared Scallop with Chorizo, Roasted Red Pepper Coulis, and Parmesan Crisp (GF)
  • Artist Palette Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookie


  • Sipping Chocolate Flight: White, Milk, & Dark Chocolate (non-alcoholic)
  • Saugatuck Brewing Co. Neapolitan Milk Stout, Douglas, MI
  • Lexington Brewing Company Kentucky Vanilla Barrel Cream Ale, Lexington, KY
  • Lindemans Framboise Lambic, Belgium
  • Barrymore Rosé, Monterey County, CA
  • Carmel Road Drew’s Blend Pinot Noir, Monterey County, CA
  • Symphony in Chocolate Flight: Mozart Cream Liqueurs paired with Sipping Chocolates
  • Chocolate and Beer Pairing Flight
Photo: Disney Parks Blog

Cuisine Classique (Located in the Germany Pavilion)

Food Items:

  • Red Wine-braised Beef Short Rib with Parsnip Purée, Broccolini, Baby Tomatoes, and Aged Balsamic
  • Seared Corvina with braised Ratatouille and Lemon-Thyme Beurre Blanc (GF)
  • Saint-Honoré Tart: Caramel Cream Tart with Caramel Glaze topped with Cream Puffs
  • Artist Palette Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookie


  • Angry Orchard Rosé Hard Cider, Walden, NY
  • Concrete Beach Brewery Rosé Ale, Miami, FL
  • Frozen Rosé
  • Campo Viejo Rioja Reserva Art Series, Logrono, Spain
  • Domaine Savary Chablis, Burgundy
  • A Play on Rosé Flight
Photo: Disney Parks Blog

Pop Eats! (Located in Showcase Plaza)

Food Items:

  • Sous Vide Chicken Roulade with Apples and Sage served with Warm Brie Fondue, Blueberry and Beet Gel and garnished with Apple and Beet Chips (GF)
  • Shrimp Ceviche with Lime Mint Foam (GF)
  • Almond Frangipane Cake layered with Raspberry Jam and Callebaut Belgian Chocolate (V)
  • Pop Art Tart: Modern-designed Sugar Cookie with Strawberry Filling (V)


  • Blue Sky Black Cherry Boba Freeze (non-alcoholic)
  • #RainbowSherbertGlitterDreamAle by Playalinda Brewing Co., Titusville, FL
  • Popping Bubbles Cocktail
Photo: Disney Parks Blog

Masterpiece Kitchen (Located in the Canada Pavilion)

Food Items

  • Wild Mushroom Risotto, Aged Parmesan, Truffle Shavings and Zinfandel Reduction (V)
  • Charcuterie Palette with Artisan Cured Meats and Cheeses featuring Nueske’s® Applewood Smoked Beef
  • Vanilla, Rose Water and Pistachio Panna Cotta


  • Weihenstephaner Original Lager, Freising, Germany
  • Perrier-Jouët Belle Époque Brut Champagne
  • The Meeker Vineyard Winemakers’ Handprint Merlot, Sonoma County, CA
  • Pinord La Dama Reserva Familiar Brut, Spain
  • Pinord La Dama Reserva Familiar Brut Rosé, Spain
  • Classic Sidecar with a Chocolate Twist
Photo: Disney Parks Blog

Painter’s Palate (Located in the Odyssey Festival Showplace)

Food Items:

  • Smoked Salmon and Cream Gâteau with Egg Yolk Cream, Paddlefish Caviar, and Micro-herbs
  • Trio of Savory Croissant Doughnuts:
    • Whipped Boursin® Garlic & Fine Herbs Cheese with Fresh Herbs (V)
    • Chicken Salad with Shaved Fennel and Fresh Herbs
    • Spicy Tuna with Wasabi and Seaweed Salad
  • Gallery Bites: A Trio of Hors d’Oeuvres
  • Chilled Shrimp with Cucumber Cream Cheese on a Crostini
  • Traditional Deviled Egg with Candied Bacon
  • Crispy Truffled Risotto Ball with Truffle Aïoli (V)
  • Pop Art Tart: Abstract-designed Sugar Cookie with Strawberry Filling (V)
  • White Chocolate Figment Puzzle on an Artist Palette
  • Mickey and Pluto White Chocolate Painting with Chocolate Easel (GF) (V)
  • Festival of the Arts White Chocolate Painting with Chocolate Easel (GF) (V)


  • North Coast Brewing Co. Scrimshaw Pilsner Style Beer, Fort Bragg, CA
  • M.I.A. Beer Company Jazz IPA, Doral, FL
  • Central 28 Beer Company Miss Mary Brown Oatmeal Brown Ale, DeBary, FL
  • Popcorn Pairing Flight
Photo: Disney Parks Blog

Decadent Delights (Located in Showcase Plaza)

Food Items:

  • White Chocolate and Purple Sweet Potato Mousse, Caramel, Coconut and Maple Meringue
  • Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Pretzel Crunch
  • Lemon Blood-Orange Tart
  • Artist Palette Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookie


  • 3 Daughters Strawberry Blonde Nitro, St. Petersburg, FL
  • Breckenridge Nitro Vanilla Porter, Breckenridge, CO
  • Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, England
  • Biagio Moscato d’Asti, Piedmont
  • Florida Orange Groves Winery Black and Blue Port, St. Petersburg, FL
  • Cold Fashioned Coffee Cocktail
  • Neapolitan Beer Flight

Refreshment Outpost (Located between the China and Germany Pavilions)

Food Items:

  • Chilled Shrimp, Quinoa, Layered Vegetables, Spiced Yogurt and Red Pepper Coulis

Fife and Drum (Located in The American Adventure)

Food Items:

  • Musical Float: Layered Strawberry, Lemonade and Blue Raspberry Slushy with Vanilla Ice Cream and White Chocolate (non-alcoholic)

Block and Hans (Located in The American Adventure)

Beverage Items:

  • Ciderboys Grand Mimosa Apple Orange Hard Cider, Stevens Point, WI
Photo: Disney Parks Blog

Refreshment Port (Located in Showcase Plaza)

Food Items:

  • Lobster Chips: Lobster-topped house-made Chips with Lobster Bisque Cheese Sauce, pickled Jalapeños and Citrus Cream


  • Glazed Pork Belly Bloody Mary: Classic Bloody Mary with Absolut Vodka garnished with Maple IPA Glazed Pork Belly, Pickled Carrots, Celery, Stuffed Olives and Cherry Tomato
Photo: Disney Parks Blog

Taste Track (Located in Future World East)

Food Items:

  • Lobster Bacon Macaroni & Cheese served in a Warm Bread Cone
  • Paintbrush Churros: Cinnamon Sugar Churros Dipped in Colorful White Chocolate

Beverage Items:

  • Pancake Milkshake (non-alcoholic)
  • Banfi Rosa Regale Sparkling Red, Piedmont
Photo: Disney Parks Blog

L’Art de la Cuisine Française (Located in the France Pavilion)

Food Items:

  • Crème de Brie en Petit Pain: Warm Creamy Brie in a House-made Bread Bowl
  • Dariole de Saumon à la Provencale, Sauce Beurre Blanc, Fleuron: Salmon Terrine with Zucchini and Tomato, Beurre Blanc Sauce, Puff Pastry Fleuron
  • Moelleux Aux Chocolats Valrhona: Molten Chocolate Cake with Pure Origin Valrhona Chocolates


  • Crémant de Bourgogne Veuve d’Ambal Expression: French Sparkling Burgundy Wine
  • Alsace, Riesling Reserve Willm
  • Bordeaux, Château Prignac, Medoc, 2014
  • Frosé: Frozen Côtes de Provence Rosé Wine with Grey Goose Vodka and Peach Purée
Photo: Disney Parks Blog

Mosaic Canteen (Located in the Morocco Pavilion)

Food Items:

  • Spiced Beef with Pine Nuts and Dried Cherries, Hummus and Pita Chips
  • Mediterranean Flatbread with Zaatar, Olive Oil Artichoke, Olives, Mozzarella and Feta Cheese
  • Chebbakia: Hand-twisted Strips of Fried Dough coated with Honey, Rosewater and Sesame Seeds


  • Casa Beer
  • Bonassia Red, Meknés, Morocco
  • Embrace the Arak: Massaya Arak, Orange Juice and Grenadine
Photo: Disney Parks Blog

El Artista Hambriento (Located in the Mexico Pavilion)

Food Items:

  • Sopes de Chilorio: Slow-braised Pork marinated in Ancho Chili Paste served on Fried Corn Dough with Black Beans, Queso Oaxaca, Crema Mexicana and Salsa Verde
  • Callo de Hacha en Salsa de Jengibre y Habanero: Two Seared Scallops with Ginger-habanero Sauce atop Yucca Purée
  • Chocoflan: Creamy Mexican Custard and Chocolate Sponge Cake topped with Cajeta and Hazelnuts


  • Allende Mexican Craft Beer
  • Frida Lychee Margarita: El Velo Blanco Tequila, Lychee Purée, Botran Rum, and Fresh Lime Juice
  • Diego Dragon Fruit Margarita: Bruxo Mezcal, Dragon Fruit Purée, Ginger Cordial, and Guanábana Liqueur
Photo: Disney Parks Blog

Takumi Table (Located in the Japan Pavilion)

Food Items:

  • Taiyaki: Fish-shaped Japanese Sweet Stuffed Pastry with Red Bean Paste and topped with Whipped Cream and Sesame Custard
  • Sushi Donut: Donut-shaped Sushi featuring Salmon, Tuna, Shrimp, Avocado and Masago accented with Citrus-soy Gelée and Wasabi on the side


  • Sapporo Draft Beer
  • Masu Sake in a Traditional Personalized Wooden Cup
  • Melting Snow Cocktail: Sake, Peach Schnapps, Cranberry Juice, and Japanese Calpico
Photo: Disney Parks Blog

The Painted Panda (Located in the China Pavilion)

Food Items:

  • Crystal Mooncake with Fruit Filling and garnished with Toasted Coconut
  • Dragon and Phoenix: Spicy Sautéed Shrimp with Spinach Noodles
  • Plum Infused Cherry Tomatoes


  • “Panda” Bubble Tea: Classic Milk Tea with Black and White Boba Pearls (non-alcoholic)
  • Jasmine Draft Beer
  • Fortune Cookie: ByeJoe Spirit, Amaretto, Coconut and Pineapple
  • Kung Fu Punch: Vodka, Triple Sec, Mango Syrup, Orange Juice and Soda Water
  • Tomato Plum Cocktail: Plum Wine with Plum Infused Tomatoes
Photo: Disney Parks Blog

L’Arte di Mangiare (Located in the Italy Pavilion)

Food Items:

  • Barbabietole Dolci, Caprino Fritto: Roasted Candied Beet Salad with Goat Cheese Fritters
  • Costine di Maiale Aceto Balsamico: Sweet & Sour Balsamic-glazed Pork Ribs
  • Spuma al Miele d’Arancio: Orange Honey Mousse with Peaches and Mint Marjoram Cream


  • Peroni Nastro Azzurro Pilsner
  • Moretti La Rossa Double Malt Beer
  • Prosecco, Villa Sandi
  • Moscato Fior d’Arancio, Montegrande
  • Corbinello, Montegrande
  • Pinot Grigio, Bosco del Merlo
  • Merlot, Montegrande
  • Amaretto Bellini: Amaretto, White Peach Purée and Prosecco
  • Vodka Rossini: Vodka, Strawberry Purée and Prosecco

Funnel Cakes (Located in The American Adventure)

  • Salted Caramel Funnel Cake
Photo: Disney Parks Blog

Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company

  • Future World East: Espresso-nist Latte – A shot of Joffrey’s Italian Espresso mixed with rich Baileys Espresso Crème Liqueur, topped with Steamed Milk and Whipped Cream
  • Canada: Starry Night Latte – A delicious shot of Joffrey’s Italian Espresso mixed with Creamy Godiva Chocolate Liqueur, topped with Steamed Milk and Whipped Cream
  • Showcase Plaza: Surreal Cinnamon Latte – A shot of Joffrey’s Italian Espresso mixed with RumChata and Cinnamon Whisky, blended with Steamed Milk and Whipped Cream
  • The American Adventure: Bourbon Brushstroke Latte – A shot of Italian Espresso mixed with Bourbon Whiskey Cream liqueur, blended with Steamed Milk and Whipped Cream

For more information on the Epcot International Festival of the Arts, visit the Walt Disney World Resort website.

Macklemore, Pitbull, and More Coming to Universal’s Mardi Gras 2019

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

From the Universal Orlando Resort Blog:

The start of a new year is upon us. Time to set those New Year’s resolutions, start planning out your year, and most importantly, get ready for Universal’s Mardi Gras 2019. This year’s event returns Feb. 9 – April 4 to Universal Studios Florida with nightly parades, live concerts on select nights, Cajun food and drinks and beads, beads and more beads!

Let’s dive into the star-studded concert lineup with new and returning fan-favorites. Catch these live performances on select nights at the Music Plaza Stage.

Universal’s Mardi Gras 2019 Concert Lineup

  • February 9 – BUSH
  • February 16 – Gavin DeGraw
  • February 17 – Dan + Shay
  • February 23 – Macklemore
  • March 2 – To be announced
  • March 9 – Becky G
  • March 10 – Sean Paul
  • March 16 – Steve Miller Band
  • March 17 – Ziggy Marley
  • March 23 – NF
  • March 24 – Pitbull
  • March 30 – To be announced
  • March 31 – To be announced

New Nighttime Parade Theme

The nightly parade returns with 12 floats, beads, colorful dancers and stilt performers. This year’s new theme is one of my all-time favorites – Party Animals! You’ll see floats and performers dressed as their spirit animals from all over the world like the arctic, jungle, ocean, swamp and more.

French Quarter Food and Drinks

The French Quarter Courtyard is getting a new culinary twist this year. All food and drinks will be served in tasting sizes. You’ll now be able to enjoy a variety of the New Orleans dishes during your visit.

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

To add to the excitement, our culinary team has whipped up new and returning fan-favorite food and drink options. We’re talking beignets, frog legs, crab etouffee, and crawfish! Plus, we’re going to have a signature Mardi Gras cocktail, craft beer and more. Stay tuned to the blog for more mouthwatering details.

French Quarter Entertainment Lineup

You can’t have the French Quarter Courtyard without the beats of the Big Easy. Catch these authentic New Orleans bands performing daily in the French Quarter.

  • February 9 – 17: Dirty Bourbon River Show
  • February 18 – 27: Naughty Professor Brass Band
  • February 28 – March 18: Free Agents Brass Band featuring Honey Bannister
  • March 19 – April 4: New Breed Brass Band

Special Ticket and Annual Pass Offers

Publicity Mardi Gras Parade Floats Universal Studios Florida USF Entertainment Beads

This spring we’ve got the perfect way for Florida residents to experience ANY day of Mardi Gras and Universal Orlando thrills and excitement. For a limited time get 3 days for just $159.99 plus tax with a valid promo code from Coca-Cola or Coke Zero Sugar now through April 4, 2019. You can use your three days anytime now through June 30, 2019. That means no blockout dates and you can use them non-consecutively. 

OR you can upgrade to an Annual Pass* to enjoy the parks all year long and our special events like Mardi Gras. Right now – April 4, you get up to six months free with the purchase of any Annual Pass. That’s a whole year now and up to half a year free! 

Plus, Passholders get awesome perks during Mardi Gras like an exclusive parade viewing area, float riding opportunities and more.

*Blockout dates apply for Seasonal Passholders on all concert event nights at Universal Studios Florida. You will still receive access to Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

Grab your tickets and get ready to party with us at Mardi Gras 2019! Don’t forget to share with #UniversalMardiGras on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

10 Easy Ways to Earn Money for a Disney World Vacation

A Disney World vacation is often seen as a rite of passage for most families who want to experience and share that “Disney magic” with their kids. However, with prices increasing each year, it may feel out of reach to come up with enough money to take that vacation. So, today, I want to share with you ten easy ways to earn money for a Disney World vacation, mostly from the comfort of your own home!

Swagbucks: My #1 favorite way to earn money for vacations is through Swagbucks! Swagbucks is an incredible resource where you can complete surveys, watch videos, and make purchases to earn money in the form of SB which can be redeemed for cash back (through PayPal) or a number of gift cards, including Visa, Target, Amazon, and more! You can sign up for Swagbucks here and earn a 300 SB ($3!) bonus.

Ibotta: You can use Ibotta to earn money back on purchases that you’re already making at your local grocery store. Ibotta has so many rebates available, including a $0.25 rebate for purchasing ANY ITEM almost every week. You can sign up for Ibotta here to get started with a $10 welcome bonus.

Shopkick: Shopkick is an easy app to use while you’re out and about. You will earn “kicks” for opening the app inside of a number of stores like Target, Marshalls, and Carter’s. You can also earn extra kicks for scanning barcodes on select items in the stores and even more for purchasing those things. You can sign up for Shopkick here.

Ebates: Ebates is an easy way to earn cash back on almost all of the purchases that you make on-line. All you need to do is go through your Ebates account to earn cash back at participating online retailers. You can sign up for Ebates here.

Receipt Hog: You are paid by Receipt Hog just for scanning your receipts! You can scan receipts from grocery store, department stores, and more to earn coins which can then be redeemed for PayPal, Amazon, or Visa Prepaid Card. You don’t have to activate any offers or purchase any specific brands to earn coins, either. You can download the Receipt Hog app here.

Fetch Rewards: Fetch is a newer (to me) app, but seems really easy so far. When you download the app, you can select all of your favorite brands (or brands you may ever purchase) and then earn points for every receipt that you can. You will earn bonus points just for scanning your first few receipts. You earn points for so many different brands that the points seem to add up pretty quickly and then can be cashed out for as little as 3,000 points which would give you a $3 gift card. You can download the Fetch Rewards app here. Enter my referral code, V8UFM at the sign-up screen and you’ll get 2,000 Fetch Points ($2.00 in points!) when you complete one receipt.

Dosh: The Dosh app is another way to earn money on purchases that you’re already making. When you link a credit or debit card, you will earn money back on purchases made at a number of retailers. Once you download the app, you can view all participating locations near you. There are places like Hungry Howie’s, Payless ShoeSource, Pizza Hut, gas stations, and more. You can sign up for Dosh here.

Checkout 51: Checkout 51 has a number of rebates available on items like groceries, healthy and beauty, and more. New offers are added each Thursday so be sure to check each week to see what is available. You can sign up for Checkout 51 here.

Bing: You can earn Microsoft Reward Points by using Bing as your search engine. It’s a really quick and easy way to earn points which can be redeemed for gift cards. You can earn up to 150 points per day for searches on your desktop and 100 points per day for searches on a mobile device. Plus, you can even earn bonuses for completing other activities and searching daily. They have a variety of options to redeem your points for like Target and Starbucks gift cards. You can sign up for a Microsoft rewards account here.

Saving Star: Saving Star is another rebate app with offers from popular companies like Kellogg’s, Pillsbury, General Mills, and more. Just be sure to activate the offers before your purchase with Saving Star. You can sign up for Saving Star here.

What are your favorite ways to earn money for a Disney World vacation (or any vacation)?

19 Reasons to Book a 2019 Disney World Vacation

From the Disney Parks Blog:

Photo: Disney Parks Blog

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2019 is going to be an amazing time at Walt Disney World Resort, with so many new and exciting things happening all year long. You’ll travel to a galaxy far, far away and experience zany fun aboard a runaway railway. You can MousekeDance yourself silly and play basketball like the pros. Or maybe you’ll want to take in beautiful views while you dine 15 stories high atop a new resort hotel tower or glide across the sky in a gondola.

So let’s get to it! Here are 19 reasons to be excited for a trip to Walt Disney World Resort in 2019:

Photo: Disney Parks Blog

1. Anything Can Happen at Mickey & Minnie’s Surprise Celebration – Starting January 18, Magic Kingdom Park is honoring those true originals, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, now, more than ever with new entertainment, merchandise and specialty food and beverages. The new “Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It! Street Party” will parade up Main Street, U.S.A. several times daily, while you can meet Mickey and Minnie together – wearing their new birthday outfits – in Town Square Theater.

Photo: Disney Parks Blog

2. Celebrate the 30th anniversary of Disney’s Hollywood Studios – On May 1, Walt Disney World Resort will celebrate the 30th anniversary of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The park is honoring this achievement all year with a new 30th anniversary logo and other fun and excitement (see below!).

Photo: Disney Parks Blog

3. Say a Fond Farewell to IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth – After nearly 20 years of delighting Epcot guests through music, fireworks, fire torches and more, this nighttime spectacular will be ending in the second half of this year. Now, more than ever you’ll want to spend another evening around World Showcase Lagoon to celebrate this classic show that has entertained millions since its October 1999 debut.

4. Jaleo Cooks Up Fresh Tastes at Disney Springs – Chef José Andrés will bring the spirit and flavors of Spain to Disney Springs with his new Jaleo restaurant, opening this winter. The tapas experience will offer a lively setting befitting its name, which means “revelry.”

5. Party with Pixar Pals at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Starting Jan. 18, celebrate the park’s 30th anniversary with The Incredibles, who will host a dance party at Pixar Avenue (where you can also meet the one and only Edna Mode!). A door to the monster world will open at Walt Disney Presents, where Mike and Sulley from Disney•Pixar’s “Monsters, Inc.” will be greeting you. And Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Jessie and the rest of the gang are ready to welcome you into Andy’s backyard at the new Toy Story Land.

Photo; Disney Parks Blog

6. Disney on Broadway Concert Series Expands During Epcot International Festival of the Arts –This celebration of the visual, culinary and performing arts returns Jan. 18-Feb. 25. This year, the Disney on Broadway Concert Series will expand to seven days a week, so you can bask in live Disney magic more than ever. The festival also will feature 13 Food Studios, a variety of workshops led by professional artists, interactive exhibits and activities, and much more.

7. “The Lion King” Roars Again at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – 2019 marks the 25th anniversary of Walt Disney Pictures’ animated classic “The Lion King.” To mark this occasion, starting Jan. 18 Rafiki and Timon will lead you in dances and games during the “Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party” on Discovery Island.

Photo: Disney Parks Blog

8. Take in the Topiaries During Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival – Welcome spring’s arrival with this popular festival, which returns March 6-June 3. This year’s event will feature delectable bites at outdoor kitchens, as well as dozens of world-renowned, Disney-themed topiaries. In addition, the Garden Rocks Concert Series will include three shows a day for all 90 days of the event.

Photo: Disney Parks Blog

9. Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy Speeds into Disney’s Hollywood Studios – When this new show experience opens this spring, you’ll come face to face with racing legend Lightning McQueen, who will teach you about racing from his years of experience on the track. This will be the untold story of Lightning McQueen … as told by Lightning McQueen!

Photo: Disney Parks Blog

10. H2O Glow Nights Return to Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park – These evening beach parties happen Thursdays and Saturdays from May 30 through Aug. 24, transforming the water park into a new nighttime experience through special music, lighting and food. Come party with friends from Pixar’s “Toy Story” films during the 30th anniversary summer of Typhoon Lagoon!

11. New Cinematic Nighttime Experience Coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios – As part of the theme park’s 30th anniversary, Wonderful World of Animation will debut May 1. The show will use state-of-the-art technology to take you on a magical journey through more than 90 years of Disney animation, all beginning with Mickey.

Photo; Disney Parks Blog

12. Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort to Open New Tower – This summer, the resort will complete a total reimagining, including the new 15-story Gran Destino tower featuring a rooftop restaurant and 545 new guest rooms. A second new restaurant will be located on an island in the middle of the resort’s 14-acre lake, while all of its existing 1,800-plus rooms have been fully updated with new fixtures and furnishings.

Photo: Disney Parks Blog

13. NBA Experience Will Be a Slam Dunk at Disney Springs – This brand-new destination will allow you to participate in your own scouting report, take you through pregame preparations and let you step onto the court to make clutch shots and highlight reel-worthy slam dunks. By participating in 13 unique and innovative hands-on activities, you’ll feel like a star player.

Guests snap a selfie after grabbing new Guinness Baileys Shakes from the Ireland marketplace during the 23rd Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Held Aug. 30-Nov. 12, 2018, the event features more than 30 global marketplaces showcasing edible and drinkable delights. (Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

14. Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Will Spice Up Fall – The aromas and flavors of global marketplaces will welcome you to the 24th year of this renowned festival. You’ll have a chance to meet celebrity chefs, try new food and wine pairings, and listen to great music during the Eat to the Beat Concert Series.

15. Major Youth Sporting Events Return to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex – The Jr. NBA World Championship will return to the complex, showcasing top boys and girls basketball teams from around the world. In December, the 63rd Pop Warner Super Bowl will bring hundreds of young football players to Walt Disney World to compete in national championship games.

Photo: Disney Parks Blog

16. Explore Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – Live your own Star Wars adventure when this deeply immersive land opens at Disney’s Hollywood Studios this fall (and this summer at Disneyland Park in California). You’ll explore Black Spire Outpost on the planet Batuu, where you’ll find all manner of new sights, sounds, smells, tastes, characters and creatures from a galaxy far, far away. The land will also feature two thrilling new attractions: Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.

Photo: Disney Parks Blog

17. Take a Ride on Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway – Opening later this year at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, this will be the first ride-through attraction themed to Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. It will feature a new original story and lovable theme song, taking you on a journey inside the wacky and unpredictable world of Disney Channel’s Emmy Award-winning Mickey Mouse cartoon shorts. New technologies will transform the two-dimensional cartoon world into an astounding multi-dimensional experience.

Photo: Disney Parks Blog

18. Glide Through the Air in the Disney Skyliner –Disney Skyliner will offer Tinker Bell views later this year as guests float in gondolas to either Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios on roundtrips from Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and the new Disney’s Riviera Resort.

Inspired by the European grandeur Walt Disney experienced in his travels along the Mediterranean coastline, Disney’s Riviera Resort is projected to open in fall 2019. This proposed resort will be the 15th Disney Vacation Club property. (Disney)

19. Disney’s Riviera Resort Will Be 15th Disney Vacation Club Resort – Scheduled to open by the end of this year, Disney’s Riviera Resort will reflect an elegant early 20th-century design, inspired by Walt Disney’s travels to the Mediterranean. The deluxe DVC resort is slated to offer approximately 300 family-friendly vacation home units.

Top 10 Things to Do with Kids at Universal Orlando Resort

From the Universal Orlando Resort Blog:

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

At Universal Orlando Resort there is fun for the whole family, which means there is no shortage of activities for the little ones!

Check out these 10 things to do with kids at Universal Orlando Resort:

1. Breakfast at Voodoo Doughnut

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

When you’re on vacation, it’s ok to eat sweets for breakfast, right? Then start your day of fun with a stop by Voodoo Doughnuts at Universal CityWalk. There you’ll find the most delicious doughnuts ever – with all the flavors you can think of!

2. A Day of Fun at Universal’s Volcano Bay

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

If you want a place to have fun with kids and also relax while they burn some energy, Volcano Bay is the place to be. The park offers a lot of play areas, like Runamukka Reef, where kids of any age can have fun.

3. Flying on a Bike at E.T. Adventure

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

This is your chance to show your kids a little bit of your childhood memories! Who hasn’t dreamed of flying through the sky on a bike with E.T.? In this attraction, you get to make that happen with your whole family. And keep an eye on the end of the ride – he has a surprise for you.

4. Dance with Characters at Superstar Parade

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

A break during the day for a little fun and dance? Yes, please! See your favorite characters up close in the Superstar Parade, including the cute puppies and cats from The Secret Life of Pets.

5. Burn Some Energy at Fievel’s Playland

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

This themed playground inspired by the mouse Fievel Mousekewitz, from An American Tale, is the perfect place for the little ones to burn some extra energy during the day! Here they can run, jump and climb as much as they want.

6. Meet a Dinosaur

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

Do you remember the first time you saw a dinosaur? Your kids will definitely never forget! At Raptor Encounter you come face-to-face with the velociraptor Blue, from the Jurassic World movies. We guarantee this encounter will result in awesome selfies.

7. Fly Over the Park on a Pteranodon

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

Still talking about prehistoric creatures, how about taking your little adventurers for a ride on a Pteranodon? The Pteranodon Flyers ride will take you on a flight under the wings of a dinosaur with a great view from the park as a bonus.

8. Meet Your Favorite Characters

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

See your favorite characters come to life at Universal Orlando. Your kids will surely never forget the time they met Dora the Explorer or SpongeBob SquarePants in person.

9. Watch Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

This nighttime water and light show will amaze travelers of all ages, especially kids! You will live amazing and fun moments inspired by some of your favorite characters, all coming to life at the Universal Studios Florida lagoon.

10. Chill at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

Down time during vacation is just as important. Stay with your family at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort and enjoy all the comfort and play areas available. We guarantee your kids will love the pool and the awesome view of Volcano Bay water theme park.

What are your favorite things to do with kids at Universal Orlando? Share in the comments!

How to Add a Day at Universal to Your Disney World Vacation

Many guests staying at Walt Disney World Resort Hotels or Orlando area hotels want to spend a day at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Universal Orlando Resort. Disney does not provide transportation to Universal Studios from any of the Disney Hotels, so how do you add a day at Universal without a car? The most convenient and affordable way to add a day at Universal to a Disney World vacation is by purchasing a Universal ticket that includes a round-trip shuttle!

We offer a one or two day park to park ticket that includes roundtrip shuttle transfers from any of the Walt Disney World Resort hotels. The shuttle transfers are through Quick Transportation. It is an easy process. After you book your ticket, you call at least 24 hours before you are visiting Universal Studios to schedule your pickup time. Then, you are picked up from your hotel for your day at Universal Studios.

Once you are done playing at Universal Studios, you call the same number to schedule your pickup time to head back to your Disney Hotel. The shuttle can run until 2 AM, which means that you can stay and play at CityWalk after your day at Universal Studios and then take the shuttle back to your resort.

The shuttle transfers saves you from $90 on transportation from Disney to Universal Studios. Plus, this ticket is also saving you $10 per person off the regular gates prices.  One more HUGE perk, you do not have to wait in line at the ticket windows.  You walk right up to the electronic kiosks to pick up your tickets.  This can easily save you 30 minutes!

We can even add Universal’s unlimited Express Pass to these tickets to help you enjoy as much as possible during your day at Universal by skipping the line at most attractions! Plus, if you book your tickets by March 14, 2019, you’ll get two days FREE with the purchase of a two day ticket!

Call Siera today at 734-771-1290 or email her at to book your day (or two) at Universal Orlando Resort so you can experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

Top Ten Things You Must Do at Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

Top Ten Things You Must Do at Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando

Universal’s Islands of Adventure really is the “choose your own adventure” of theme parks. With so many options, what attractions would you regret skipping? Here are ten things that we think that you must do at Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort:

1. Soar above Hogwarts on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

Make your way through iconic locations inside Hogwarts castle before boarding this exciting attraction. Then join Harry as you come face-to-face with an array of magical creatures.

2. Get up close and personal with a prehistoric predator at Raptor Encounter

If you’re brave enough to step up to this electrified paddock, you’ll find a wild raptor inside for a truly unique photo op.

3. Rage out at 67 mph on The Incredible Hulk Coaster

Volunteer to be a test subject for Dr. Bruce Banner’s research and your Hulk-like powers will propel you faster and faster on this thrill ride.

4. Blast into action on The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

Swing above the streets, scale skyscrapers, and battle the Sinister Syndicate with Spidey.

5. Indulge in a delicious Butterbeer at Hog’s Head

It’s easy to love this classic treat, enjoyed by Harry and his friends in the films. The Hog’s Head pub provides the perfect cozy spot for sipping and relaxing.

6. Take an 85-foot plunge on Jurassic Park River Adventure

There’s only one way out of trouble when a hungry T. rex stares you down.

7. Learn who rules the jungle on Skull Island: Reign of Kong

This mysterious island contains many treacherous creatures – who is friend and who is foe?

8. Meet Dr. Seuss’s beloved storybook characters at Seuss Landing

The Grinch, Thing One and Thing Two, The Cat in the Hat, and others can be found here surrounded by whimsical scenery.

9. Get soaked on Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls

Slosh your way through twists and turns – and a 65-foot drop.

10. Experience the otherworldly cuisine of Mythos

The Lost Continent’s award-winning, full-service restaurant offers modern cuisine with Mediterranean, Asian, and American-inspired dishes.

What are your favorite things that you must do at Islands of Adventure 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 or at 734-771-1290 for more information or your free, no obligation quote. 

Five Ways to Celebrate and Connect with the Navi in Pandora- the World of Avatar

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Since Pandora – The World of Avatar opened earlier this year, Walt Disney World Resort guests just can’t get enough. Whether it’s taking a wild adventure atop a mountain banshee at Avatar – Flight of Passage, traveling down the Na’vi River Journey to spy the Na’vi Shaman of Songs, or gazing in amazement at the intricacies of Pandora’s amazing floating mountains, there’s so much fun to be had.

And of course, there are many ways guests become even more immersed in Pandoran culture during their visit. Here are five ways we suggest celebrating and connecting with the Navi in Pandora – The World of Avatar:

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

1. Create & Personalize Your Own Avatar Action Figure – The ACE Avatar Maker at Windtraders uses state-of-the-art facial scanners to grab your image and create a human/Na’vi hybrid figure. After the image is captured, guests are free to personalize their avatar’s eye color, facial striping pattern, hairstyle and more.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

2. Visit Colors of Mo’ara – Colors of Mo’ara helps guests see themselves as one of the Na’vi by giving them Na’vi-inspired face painting with authentic Pandoran markings.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

3. Headbands & Tails – What Na’vi look would be complete without accessories? Windtraders carries an assortment of Na’vi inspired headbands, tails, hooded jackets – and even shoes and walking sticks that interact with the land at night.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

4. Banshee Matching – A milestone in the life of a Na’vi is when he or she is matched with a Banshee. Head into Windtraders, where cast members are ready to help you find your perfect match.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

5. Dine at Satu’li Canteen – Stop into the land’s former RDA mess hall to try a fast-casual menu that’s been inspired by Pandora’s natural abundance.

How do you plan to celebrate and connect with the Navi in Pandora- the World of Avatar during your next visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom?

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. Contact Siera today at or at 734-771-1290 for more information or your free, no obligation quote. 

Top Six Blue Man Group Experiences Not to Miss at Universal Orlando Resort

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

For over 10 years, Blue Man Group Orlando has delivered electrifying music, interactive art and hilarious hijinks in their nightly show in Universal CityWalk.

Get your marshmallows ready – here are the top six Blue Man Group experiences at Universal Orlando Resort that you won’t want to miss:

1. Dare to GIF in Full Color

In the lobby of the Blue Man Group theater, you’ll find a photo kiosk where you can create a personalized GIF. Plan out your three poses and smile for the camera, and you’ll end up with a GIF ready to share on social media. Make sure you tag @bluemangroup and add in #BlueManORL!

2. See Your Name on the Big Screen

We know there’s nothing quite like seeing your name on the big screen. The theater features LED screens that are ready to host your name just before each performance (feel free to nominate a friend to be featured, as well!). After you’ve booked your tickets, email the Blue Man Group Box Office at least 48 hours before the show to see if a spot is available.

3. Dinner Date with the Blue Men

Didn’t check out a CityWalk restaurant before the show? Maybe you’ll be the lucky audience member chosen to dine onstage with the Blue Men. No one can be sure of what’s in store once their dinner guest is seated, but laughs are always guaranteed.

4. Get Ready to Get Messy

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

If you’re looking to make the most of your Blue Man Group experience, look no further than the “Poncho Section.” Located in the four rows closest to the stage, this section ensures that you’ll be up close for all the action.

Blue Man Group uses over 50 gallons of vibrant paint and 32 pounds of Jell-O each week, so you’ll be thankful for the complimentary ponchos by the time the show is over.

5. The Ultimate Dance Party

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

Sometimes, you just need to shake your booty. Or your “dance captain” or “sit biscuit” or “wiggle cloud”. Whatever you want to call it, the Blue Men are ready to help you move it.

Blue Man Group throws the ultimate dance party in the show’s encore, complete with thundering music, fog machines, toilet-paper streamers and larger-than-life glowing inflatable balls.

6. Get Up Close and Personal with a Blue Man

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

With Blue Man Group’s VIP Experience you’ll enjoy some seriously special treatment that takes you you behind the scenes. First, take a pre-show tour before enjoying the performance from the best seats in the house. After the show, you’ll get an exclusive meet-and-greet and photo opportunity with a Blue Man, so you can bring home truly unique photographs and autographs (signed in blue paint, of course).

What are your favorite Blue Man Group experiences at Universal Orlando Resort? Share it with 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 or at 734-771-1290 for more information or your free, no obligation quote.