Category Archives: Florida

Complete Guide to Dining in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

The immersive experiences within The Wizarding World of Harry Potter bring you as close as you can get to actually living out the fantasy. And one of the most tantalizing ways to immerse your senses is tasting some of the famous treats and flavorful beverages available in Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida. Today, we are sharing the complete guide to dining in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort.

BREAKFAST

As the saying goes at Universal Orlando Resort: early to rise, early to ride. This is why staying on property and taking advantage of Early Park Admission can be your best friend, especially with early access to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Plus, arriving early means in-park breakfast and I highly recommend you make time to enjoy a pleasant sit-down morning meal at one of the two remarkably themed restaurants in Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley before setting off on your journey. 

Leaky Cauldron – Diagon Alley

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendations: To fully immerse yourself in the wizarding world you’ve got to go all in, which is why I highly recommend choosing one of the more adventurous breakfast plates like the delicious Egg, Leek and Mushroom Pasty.

Breakfast Menu

Three Broomsticks – Hogsmeade

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendations:  The Traditional English Breakfast is the star of the show here, but when I’m in the mood for an old reliable I usually opt for the American Breakfast.

Breakfast Menu – Currently Unavailable

Check the Universal Orlando App for availability and mobile ordering during your visit. 


LUNCH/DINNER

If there’s one word to describe the majority of meals you will find at seated dining locations throughout The Wizarding World of Harry Potter it is hearty. The menus at the Leaky Cauldron and the Three Broomsticks are loaded with wholesome dishes offering a feast of familiar and even some unfamiliar British fare. This, in addition to extraordinary theming and lively ambiance, makes the entire dining experience an attraction unto itself. 

Leaky Cauldron – Diagon Alley

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendations: I can’t stress enough how good the Beef, Lamb & Guinness Stew really is, but I also dig the Mini Pie Combination.

Lunch/Dinner Menu

Three Broomsticks – Hogsmeade

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendations: Fish & Chips is my choice, but if you want something a bit more eclectic try the Great Feast.

Lunch/Dinner Menu

Both the Leaky Cauldron and the Three Broomsticks have kids menu options as well if you’re traveling with young ones.

Short on time? There’s a variety of grab-and-go food options throughout both lands so you can keep exploring and make use of every last valuable minute in the wizarding world.

London Taxi Cart – Diagon Alley

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendations: LoadedJacket Potato


BEVERAGES

When it comes to drinks in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Butterbeer is a must-try. However, choices abound beyond just that sweet butterscotch concoction, including a number of other favorite drinks from the stories. Though, if you do opt for Butterbeer, the decision you’ll have to make is…which kind? 

Where to get Butterbeer…

Diagon Alley – Leaky Cauldron, The Hopping Pot, The Fountain of Fair Fortune

Hogsmeade – Three Broomsticks, Hog’s Head, Street Carts

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendation: Frozen Butterbeer is my personal favorite, but cold Butterbeer and hot Butterbeer are also worth a try. Keep in mind hot Butterbeer is a seasonal beverage available only during the winter time.

Eternelle’s Elixir of Refreshment – Carkitt Market in Diagon Alley

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendations: Sample the lot!CombineFire Protection Potion, Babbling Beverage, Draught of Peace, or Elixir to Induce Euphoria with a bottle of Gillywater for a flavorful treat.

Other Beverages…

Hogsmeade – Three Broomsticks

Diagon Alley – Leaky Cauldron, Fountain of Fair Fortune, The Hopping Pot

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendations: Pumpkin Juice is the classic, but Fishy Green Ale and Otter’s Fizzy Orange Juice are the more adventurous choices. 

Adult Beverages…

Hogsmeade – Three Broomsticks, Hog’s Head 

Diagon Alley – Leaky Cauldron, Fountain of Fair Fortune, The Hopping Pot

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendations: Try the exclusive Hog’s Head Brew or other domestic and imported beers.

Check each location for availability of specific beverages. *Must be 21 years or older with valid identification to purchase or drink alcoholic beverages. 


TREATS

Butterbeer isn’t the only sweet treat to be found in the wizarding world. Both lands feature their own whimsically-themed candy shops with shelves and glass cases of popular treats from the stories and some originals you won’t find anywhere else, too. 

Honeydukes – Hogsmeade

Sugarplum’s Sweet Shop – Diagon Alley

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendations: Too many to name… but I’ll try. Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans, Chocolate Frogs, Exploding Bonbons, Fizzing Whizbees, Fudge Flies, Butterbeer Fudge (yes, this exists and yes, it is absolutely delicious).

Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour – Diagon Alley

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendations: If you have to choose just one, I highly recommend Butterbeer ice-cream, but save room to try the Earl Grey & Lavender, Chocolate Chili and Sticky Toffee Pudding if you can.

Ice Cream Menu


HEALTHY EATING

And if you’re looking for options for healthy eating or special dietary needs, we got you covered with some delicious options. If you or another guest have food allergies or intolerances, we offer a number of dining options throughout The Wizarding World of Harry Potter where our chefs and culinary staff can accommodate your dietary needs. Just be sure to ask your server or attending Team Member for options at your specific dining location. 

Leaky Cauldron – Diagon Alley

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendation: The Ploughman’s is enough food for two and it features an array of a feast of English cheese, crusty bread, field green salad, roasted tomatoes, cornichon pickles, apple beet salad, branston pickle & scotch eggs. Wow, that’s literally a mouthful!

Lunch/Dinner Menu

Three Broomsticks – Hogsmeade

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Recommendation: Rotisserie Smoked Chicken Salad is a nice light way to graze and save room for other delights.

Lunch/Dinner Menu

I hope this guide to dining in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort helped you plan all of the yummy details of your next visit. If I missed any of your favorites, please recommend them in the comments below.

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

Thanks Universal Orlando Resort Blog!

Looking for the perfect outfit for your daughter to wear to Universal Orlando Resort? Check out DotDotSmile or join DotDotSmile by Siera!

La Crêperie de Paris Opens October 1 with Sweet and Savory Options

Photo: Disney

When the newly expanded France pavilion at EPCOT debuts on October 1, helping kick off “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” in honor of the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort, you’ll be immersed in some of France’s signature sights, sounds, smells, and – of course! – tastes. One of the most delicious offerings, La Crêperie de Paris, is a traditional crêperie with a menu inspired by the Brittany region of France. The table- and quick-service restaurant, where everything is made from scratch and to order, will serve savory galettes and sweet dessert crêpes, along with some of Brittany’s famous hard ciders. Read on to learn all about the menu!

Photo: Disney

Like all galettes and crêpes from Brittany, La Crêperie de Paris will serve them very thin. The galettes will be cooked at a high temperature, allowing the outside to become crispy and crunchy, surrounding an irresistible array of fillings. The gluten-friendly savory galettes will be made with buckwheat imported exclusively from France and will feature classic fillings with some unique twists. Perhaps the best-known combination – and perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner – is the Classique that includes ham, eggs, and Swiss cheese. Perfect for any vegetarian diner and inspired by the “Little Chef” himself, The Ratatouille is filled with tomato, zucchini, and eggplant.

Photo: Disney

The sweet crêpes are also thin and made from scratch. From the traditional Gourmande, filled with house-made hazelnut chocolate spread, to the Pomme, filled with caramelized apples and caramel beurre salé, the dessert crêpes are guaranteed to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth. You can even top these decadent delights with house-made ice cream!

Photo: Disney

To round out the authentic French experience, La Crêperie de Paris will serve traditional Brittany hard ciders that pair perfectly with both savory galettes and sweet crêpes. From the sweet doux to the less sweet brut and demi sec, the hard ciders are imported from France and made only with apples that Brittany is known for.

The restaurant will also offer a daily prix fixe menu that includes a choice of soup or a salad, one savory galette, one dessert crêpe, and a glass of hard cider, soda or juice. The full menu of savory and sweet crêpes features:

SAVORY GALETTES

  • Classique: ham, egg, Swiss cheese
  • Poulet: chicken, bechamel cheese sauce, mushrooms
  • Chèvre: goat cheese, spinach, walnuts
  • Saumon: smoked salmon, crème fraiche, chives, lemon
  • Ratatouille: tomato, zucchini, eggplant
  • Savoyarde: Raclette cheese, onions, imported Bayonne ham

SWEET CRÊPES

  • Gourmande: hazelnut chocolate spread, whipped cream
  • Banane: banana, caramel beurre salé
  • Melba: peach, red berries sauce, almonds
  • Poire: pear, chocolate ganache, whipped cream
  • Pomme: caramelized apples, caramel beurre sale
Photo: Disney

For diners looking for a quick-service option, check out Crêpes À Emporter at La Crêperie de Paris. The walk-up window attached to the restaurant will serve three savory galettes, four sweet crêpes, soft serve ice cream, and an assortment of ciders and wines.

SAVORY GALETTES

  • Cream of Brie Cheese Galette
  • Ratatouille Galette: tomato, zucchini, eggplant
  • Bechamel, Cheese & Ham Galette

SWEET CRÊPES

  • Butter & Sugar Crêpe
  • Hazelnut & Chocolate Spread Crêpe
  • Red Berries Crêpe
  • Vanilla or Chocolate Ice Cream Crêpe

If you’re anything like me, you’ll be excited to try all the sweet and savory crêpes at La Crêperie de Paris! But I’m also looking forward to enjoying the delicious options inside the restaurant, where the décor – from the stone walls to the blue-glass windows – pay homage to Brittany (with a few Parisian twists!). Even the staff costumes are inspired by traditional crêperies, including the striped shirts and the red hat, known as a miki, traditional to Brittany’s fishermen.

For now, reservations won’t be needed to enjoy this amazing taste of France in the newly expanded France pavilion, opening on October 1, with table service dining available on a first-come, first-served basis. Be sure to keep an eye on the Disney Parks Blog, DisneyWorld.com/50 and #DisneyWorld50 on social platforms for more details on “The World’s Most Magical Celebration.” Bon appetit!

Thanks Disney Parks Blog!

Dessert Parties, Dining Packages and More Returning to Disney World This Fall

Photo: Disney

We’re counting down the days until two brand-new nighttime spectaculars debut as part of the Walt Disney World 50th anniversary celebration. To make your magical evening even more special, a new lineup of Appetizing Occasions will be returning just in time for “The World’s Most Magical Celebration.” From sweet treats to international fare, there’s no shortage of options for making the most of your nighttime spectacular experience.

Photo: Disney

Disney Enchantment, a brand-new, dazzling nighttime fireworks spectacular, debuts Oct. 1 at Magic Kingdom Park. To enrich your experience of this immersive show, there’s a full menu of dessert party options that include viewing locations from the heart of the park to the Seven Seas Lagoon. Discover all of these experiences and more within the Enchanting Extras Collection

Photo: Disney

Celebration at the Top: 50th Flavors and Fireworks at Disney’s Contemporary Resort 
Starts Oct. 2, 2021; Reservations available beginning Sept. 17, 2021

Photo: Disney

A sophisticated evening awaits at this event, where guests are welcomed to the private Sonoma and Napa Rooms at California Grill to sample a selection of specialty drinks, sushi and small plates that pay homage to the original menu from the resort’s opening in 1971. After an elevated cocktail hour, step outside to the observation deck on the 15th floor for a unique viewpoint of Disney Enchantment, complete with the synchronized music. The event continues back inside after the show with petit-fours, cordials and coffee.

At Magic Kingdom Park, three dessert party options put you right in the middle of the magic to view Disney Enchantment. Each event includes 50th anniversary-themed delights at different times throughout the evening at Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant. No matter which party you choose, you’ll discover a host of 50th anniversary-themed desserts prepared by our pastry chef, including chocolate-dipped strawberries and butterscotch pudding, plus a variety of cheeses. Drink selections will also be available, including an assortment of beer and wine for guests ages 21 and over.

Photo: Disney

Magic Kingdom 50th Fireworks Dessert Parties: Disney Enchantment Pre-Party
Starts Oct. 3, 2021; Reservations available beginning Sept. 17, 2021

Sweeten your evening at Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant at Magic Kingdom Park with 50th anniversary-themed desserts prepared by our pastry chef, a variety of cheeses and beverages, with selections of beer and wine included. Then, before the show begins, Cast Members will escort you to a reserved standing viewing location in one of the plaza gardens with prime viewing of Disney Enchantment.

Magic Kingdom 50th Fireworks Dessert Parties: Disney Enchantment Treats & Seats
Starts Oct. 3, 2021; Reservations available beginning Sept. 17, 2021

After a day of Magic Kingdom Park fun, enjoy 50th anniversary-themed desserts prepared by our pastry chef, a variety of cheeses and beverages, with selections of beer and wine included. Experience the fireworks views from the comfort of dedicated reserved seating at Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant.

Magic Kingdom 50th Fireworks Dessert Parties: Disney Enchantment After-Party
Starts Oct. 3, 2021; Reservations available beginning Sept. 17, 2021

Like the Disney Enchantment Pre-Party, this experience includes reserved standing viewing of Disney Enchantment in one of the plaza gardens. After taking in the sights and sounds of the spectacular, visit Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant for a spread of 50th anniversary-themed desserts prepared by our pastry chef, a variety of cheeses and beverages, with selections of beer and wine included.

Photo: Disney

Ferrytale Fireworks: A Sparkling Dessert Cruise
Starts Sept. 18, 2021; Reservations available now

Set sail from the Transportation and Ticket Center on one of the iconic ferryboats for a magical evening on the Seven Seas Lagoon. Once onboard, taste a variety of bite-size signature sweets including build-your-own mousse, key lime tarts, cupcakes and specialty beverages with and without alcohol. Kids can even participate in an ultraviolet scavenger hunt. During the cruise, guests can observe the Magic Kingdom Park fireworks accompanied by stunning water views.

Harmonious, one of the largest nighttime spectaculars ever created for Disney Parks, will soon light the World Showcase Lagoon at EPCOT beginning Oct. 1. With choreographed moving fountains, lights, pyrotechnics and lasers in a 360-degree view, Harmonious shows how Disney music and stories have the power to bring people from all around the world together to unlock the magic of possibility. Looking for dinner with the show? Check out new package options available at two delectable World Showcase restaurants.

Photo: Disney

Rose & Crown Fireworks Dining Package
Starts Oct. 1; Reservations available beginning Sept. 23

Dine under the stars on the patio at Rose & Dining Room, which serves classic British fare, while you sit back and enjoy the wonder of Harmonious. This package features a prix-fixe menu including one appetizer, entrée, dessert platter and unlimited beverages. 

Photo: Disney

Spice Road Table Dining Package
Starts Oct. 1; Reservations available beginning Sept. 23

Enjoy a delicious meal and feast your eyes on our newest nighttime spectacular at EPCOT. Dine in the covered, outdoor dining area reminiscent of the cafes from the Moroccan seaside with a stunning view of Harmonious. Spice Road Table offers a variety of Mediterranean small plates, including Grilled Lamb Kefta, House-made Hummus Fries and Spiced Chicken. The Spice Road Table Dining Package includes two small plates, a dessert platter and unlimited beverages.

Advance reservations are highly recommended for all dessert parties and dinner packages and can be made on DisneyWorld.com or the My Disney Experience app. For experiences located at Magic Kingdom Park and EPCOT, valid theme park admission and reservations are required.

There’s so much magic planned for the 18-month celebration. Stay tuned for more details on “The World’s Most Magical Celebration!”

Thanks Disney Parks Blog!

9 Tips for a Rainy Day at Universal Orlando Resort

Any Floridian will tell you it’s just good sense to prepare yourself for rain when planning a day at a theme park. Here in the Sunshine State, we are all too familiar with those afternoon showers that come along during the later spring and summer months. As someone who has spent plenty of afternoons refreshing my weather app and trying to figure out where I can wait out the storm, I’m here to give you my best tips for a rainy day at Universal Orlando Resort so that you’re all set the next time the clouds start forming.

TIP #1: Stay at a Universal Orlando hotel.

The closer you stay to the theme parks, the easier it will be for you to decide to head back to the hotel, dry off, and come right back to the thrills once the storm has passed. And trust me, it will. Probably in like an hour or two. Plus with Early Park Admission (one of the MANY benefits of staying at a Universal hotel), you’ll be able to get a head start on your day if rain is in the forecast.

There are also plenty of indoor activities you can do at your hotel! Bowl at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, enjoy some sushi at Loews Royal Pacific Resort, or go on a rum tasting journey at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort. Plus each of the hotels have a game room, just in case your crew is looking for some friendly competition.

TIP #2: Be prepared.

Here’s the deal — it isn’t completely unreasonable to assume that at some point during your day at Universal Orlando it may rain. Plan accordingly and throw a poncho or a light rain jacket into your bag to bring on your trip. Also plan to wear clothes and shoes that you won’t mind getting wet, just in case. Like I said, it’s just good sense to go ahead and be ready for a potentially rainy afternoon here in Florida!

There are also ponchos available for purchase throughout the parks, so if you find yourself needing one, check the official Universal Orlando Resort app for the nearest store.

TIP #3: Head to Universal’s Islands of Adventure first.

If rain is in the forecast, plan to start your day in Islands of Adventure. It has far more outside attractions that will be impacted by the rain, so you’ll want to make sure you get to fit those in first thing. 

Head to Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade to start your day on a thrilling adventure through the Forbidden Forest.

TIP #4: Enjoy some indoor attractions.

I love roller coasters as much as the next theme park fan, but some of my favorite rides at Universal are indoor attractions. Check the list below for where you can head during a rainy day at Universal!

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS FLORIDA INDOOR RIDES:

ISLANDS OF ADVENTURE INDOOR RIDES:

TIP #5: Sit back and watch a show.

Don’t let the rain damper your good time; catch a phenomenal indoor live action stunt show at Universal Studios Florida — The Bourne Stuntacular. Or head over to The Horror Make-Up Show to fit some laughs into your day. They’re close to each other in the Hollywood area of the park so you can start with one and then head to the other without getting too wet!

Definitely download the official Universal Orlando Resort app to check for showtimes and other helpful features like Universal Pay, a map of the parks, and access to the Virtual Line experience.

TIP #6: Head to Universal CityWalk.

Take a break during your rainy day at Universal for a leisurely meal at any of the fantastic sit-down restaurants in CityWalkThe Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen is my go-to because me and my crew love all of the different course-options: Bread (the warm chocolate almond bread is a must-order), Appetizer, Libation, Salad, Entree, and Milkshake. I also highly recommend asking if there’s seating upstairs! Watch the storm come and go with a great view.

You can also take the time to sit out the rain by catching a movie at Universal Cinemark.

TIP #7: Ride a water ride.

I mean, you’re already wet, right? If the storm has passed (or if it’s just some light rain), embrace your current state of damp and at least make the experience a fun one! Enjoy the three water rides in Islands of Adventure — Jurassic Park River Adventure , Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls , and Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges.

VOLCANO BAY TIP: The rides at Volcano Bay only close during inclement weather, so as long as there’s no thunder or lightning, you should be good to go on the rides. If the storm is still going, I’d say wait out the storm and go ahead and use your TapuTapu to join the Virtual Lines for the rides and hunker down at Kohola Reef Restaurant & Social Club or one of the boat bars.

TIP #8: Ride a roller coaster to dry off.

When the rain has stopped there is no more thrilling way to dry off than riding one of the high-speed roller coasters at Universal. If you’re in Universal Studios, head to Hollywood Rip Ride Rock-It. If you’re in Islands of Adventure, take a ride on The Incredible Hulk Coaster and Jurassic World VelociCoaster. You’ll be dry in no time!

TIP #9: You tell me!

These are my best tips for what to do on a rainy day at Universal Orlando Resort, but I’d love to hear yours! Share them in the comments below!

Thanks Universal Orlando Resort Blog!

Looking for the perfect outfit for your daughter to wear to Universal Orlando Resort? Check out DotDotSmile or join DotDotSmile by Siera!

Celebrate World Princess Week at Disney World

Photo: Disney

The first-ever World Princess Week, part of the Ultimate Princess Celebration, starts August 23 and celebrates the courage and kindness displayed by Disney Princesses and Queens.

Starting August 23, there will be a new Tiana-themed playground available during the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival! This playground is an awesome offering guests can enjoy during Walt Disney World Resort’s 50th anniversary celebration, “The World’s Most Magical Celebration.” On August 26, plan a visit to Disney Springs Marketplace with your own little princesses, who will be invited to take part in a Princess Promenade at the AdventHealth Waterside Stage. Taking place from 2-6 p.m. for one day only, costumes are encouraged, and guests will enjoy a princess-themed entertainment performance.

Photo: Disney

When you’re walking around Disney Springs, be sure to check out the latest Princess-inspired merchandise and snap a pic in front of the three art expression walls, themed to the “Tales of Courage and Kindness” storybook collection.

Photo: Disney

Lastly, Movies Under the Stars at Walt Disney World Resorts will feature a line-up of Disney Princess movies, so you can get lost in your favorite fairy tales with some of your favorites you know and love.

Photo: Disney

The Disney Parks Blog also shared that there will also be some sumptuous themed food and beverage offerings across Walt Disney World Resort, inspired by the 14 Disney princesses and “Frozen” queens all week long. 

Photo: Disney

Amorette’s Patisserie, Disney Springs

  • Tiana Petit Cake – Dark chocolate chiffon cake, raspberry mousse, raspberry pâte fruit, and chocolate crisp pearls

The Ganachery, Disney Springs

  • Princess Chocolate Bars – Ganache chocolate bars featuring Jasmine, Ariel, and Snow White
Photo: Disney

World Premiere Food Court, Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort

  • Mulan and Rapunzel Cookies – Sugar cookie featuring Mulan or Rapunzel

Landscapes of Flavors, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

  • Mermaid Cupcake – Vanilla cupcake filled with pineapple topped with coconut buttercream and a white chocolate mermaid tail

Contempo Café, Disney’s Contemporary Resort

  • Cinderella Cupcake – Vanilla cake with vanilla crème custard filling, buttercream, white chocolate slipper, and fondant pumpkin (available now through September 30)
Photo: Disney

Goods to GoConch Flatts General Store, and Turtle Shack Poolside Snacks, Disney’s Old Key West Resort

The Artist Palette, Disney’s  Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa

  • Snow White Cupcake – Vanilla cupcake with spiced caramel apple filling topped with caramel buttercream, red chocolate dip, and a red bow

Capt. Cook’s  and Kona Island, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

  • Moana Cupcake – Vanilla cupcake, toasted coconut mousse, and vanilla buttercream with white chocolate Moana accent piece
Photo: Disney

Everything Pop Shopping and Dining, Disney’s Pop Century Resort

  • Aurora Cupcake – Vanilla cupcake filled with marshmallow topped with strawberry buttercream, gold chocolate crown, and sprinkles

Le Petit Café,  Disney’s Riviera Resort

  • Belle Cheesecake – Lemon cheesecake with lemon curd in a vanilla tart shell decorated with modeling chocolate to resemble Belle
Photo: Disney

I.C. Expeditions and Warming Hut, Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park

  • Elsa Freeze Sundae – Vanilla soft-serve ice cream with a blue raspberry swirl topped with sleigh ride winter sprinkles and a while chocolate Elsa topper

I.C. Expeditions, Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park

  • Elsa the Snow Queen Cone – Crystalized white chocolate waffle cone, vanilla soft-serve, and spiraled frozen fractals

Creature Comforts, Disney Animal Kingdom Theme Park

  • Pocahontas Dessert – Pineapple banana cake with cream cheese coconut mousse and colored sprinkles glazed in turquoise glaçage and finished with a chocolate gem, chocolate feather, and sugar flower
Photo: Disney

Block & Hans, EPCOT

  • Arendelle Aqua Lemonade – Frozen lemonade with cotton candy syrup

Oasis Sweets & Sips, EPCOT

  • Mosaic Cookie – Sugar cookies sandwiched with apricot jam and topped with mosaic fondant and chocolate Jasmine

Sunshine Seasons, EPCOT

  • Sisters Cupcake – Strawberry cupcake with strawberry filling and strawberry buttercream topped with a chocolate crown

Traveler’s Café, EPCOT

  • Sisters Cookie – Sugar cookies sandwiched with chocolate ganache and garnished with chocolate Elsa and Anna

The Trolley Car Café, Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • Seaside Brownie – Brownie topped with chocolate fudge, graham cracker crumbs, and seaside-themed chocolate
  • Merida Cupcake – Yellow cupcake filled with a mixture of green, red, orange, and black sprinkles with green and burnt orange buttercream, gold crisp pearls, and chocolate arrow
Photo: Disney

Prince Eric’s Village Market, Magic Kingdom Park

  • Mermaid Slushy – Frozen blue raspberry and frozen green apple topped with whipped cream and a mermaid tale

Cinderella’s Royal Table, Magic Kingdom Park

  • Cinderella Slipper – White chocolate or milk chocolate slipper filled with chocolate mousse and raspberry coulis garnished with fresh berries

(Note: Offerings subject to availability.)

Photo: Disney

The Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend races go on sale on August 24. Taking place during the magic of the Walt Disney World Resort 50th Anniversary celebration, the weekend features events for all skill levels, coveted regal medals and Disney entertainment. Be inspired by some of your favorite Disney heroes to reach new heights of courage and kindness that propel you triumphantly to the finish line that ends with happily ever after!

Photo: Disney

BONUS: ?shopDisney’s Ultimate Princess Celebration Hotline will launch on August 23, this time with all-new recorded messages from five Disney Princess characters who can be reached by contacting 1-877-70-DISNEY, and two “Frozen” queens, Anna and Elsa, who can be heard only by visiting shopDisney.com. ?

How will you celebrate World Princess Week?

Complete Guide to Halloween 2021 Sweets and Treats at Disney World

With Halloween 2021 right around the corner, Disney has shared an eerie early look at their most dreadfully delicious Best Bites of the year! Disney always offers delicious seasonal treats and this year’s Halloween season will be no different.

Whether it’s frightful favorites like Sea Witch’s Brew or a creepily creative “mummy-approved” cupcake, there’s a cauldron of terrifyingly terrific treats to enjoy this season at the Walt Disney World Resort. If you dare – check out this special guide for scrumptious sweets and treats during Halloween 2021 at Disney World:  

Photo: Disney

Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

Photo: Disney
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Sanaa and Sanaa Lounge 
    • Sea Witch’s Brew – Vodka, raspberry liqueur, blue Curaçao beverage syrup, muddled berries, and edible glitter served in a Collins glass with a blue glow cube (Available 10/24-10/31)
  • Disney’s Art of Animation, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort, and Disney’s All-Star Music Resort – Food Courts 
    • Spooky Apple Spiced Spider Cupcake – Vanilla cupcake with apple filling and spiced buttercream caramel drizzle (Available 10/25-10/31)
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort – Contempo Café 
    • Mini Halloween Cake – Halloween sprinkle cake with candy bar custard and chocolate glaze (Available 10/1-10/31)
Photo: Disney
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Gasparilla Island Grill 
    • Hocus Pocus “Amuck” Cakes – Rich devil’s food cake with “peanut boo-tter” filling decorated to resemble all three Sanderson Sisters (Available 9/1-11/1)
    • Jack Skellington Pumpkin Pie Pop – Pumpkin pie colossal pop covered in white chocolate decorated as the iconic Pumpkin King (Available 9/1-11/1)
    • Sally’s Stitched Up Whoopie Pie Heart – Vanilla heart-shaped whoopie pie adorned with Sally’s signature patchwork (Available 9/1-11/1)
    • Be-Witching Minnie Mouse Cupcake – Cookies & cream-filled chocolate cupcake enrobed in chocolate ganache and topped with Minnie Mouse chocolate witch hat (Available 9/1-11/1) 
Photo: Disney
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort – Gurgling Suitcase Libations & Spirits and Olivia’s Café
    • Harvest Refresher – Vodka with cranberry juice and muddled oranges (Available 9/26-11/25)
    • Apple Cider Old Fashioned – Bourbon with fresh apple cider, bitters, muddled oranges, and brown sugar cinnamon (Available 9/26-11/25) 
    • Caramel Apple Martini – Vanilla vodka, butterscotch flavor liqueur, and fresh apple cider with a brown sugar cinnamon rim (Available 9/26-11/25)
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort – Good’s Food to go, Conch Flatts General Store, and Turtle Shack Poolside Snacks
    • Poisoned Delight – Violet white chocolate mousse dome with an apple insert and fresh apple cake covered in a white chocolate glaçage (Available 10/1-10/31)
  • Disney’s Riviera Resort – Le Petit Café
    • Milk Chocolate and Chocolate-Hazelnut Cheesecake – Caramel milk chocolate mousse, chocolate-hazelnut cheesecake, roasted white chocolate shell, and graham cracker sable-inspired acorn (Available 9/25-11/27)
    • Milk Chocolate and Chocolate-Hazelnut Cheesecake – Caramel milk chocolate mousse, chocolate-hazelnut cheesecake, dark chocolate glaçage, and graham cracker sable inspired bat (Available 10/24-10/31)
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – Geyser Point
    • Blood Orange – Tequila, blood orange, and simple syrup with lime juice (Available 10/3-11/7)
    • Black Magic Margarita –Tequila, blue Curaçao beverage syrup, green apple syrup, grenadine, sour mix, and a glow cube (Available 10/3-11/7)
    • Around the Pumpkin Patch – Tequila, pumpkin spice, lime juice, and sour mix (Available 10/3-11/7)
    • Poison Apple – Tequila, green apple syrup, lime juice, and sour mix with a poison apple glow cube (Available 10/3-11/7)
    • Holiday Drink Flight – Flight with all four holiday drinks featured above (Available 10/3-11/7)
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – Roaring Fork
    • Going Batty Cupcake – Chocolate cupcake with ganache icing and sugar cookie bat (Available 10/28-10/31)
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort and Disney’s Beach Club Resort – The Market at Ale & Compass and Beach Club Marketplace
    • Mummy Cupcake – Chocolate cupcake with a pumpkin mousse filling (Available 10/1-10/31)
    • Tiramisu Grave – Aclassic tiramisù with coffee flavor and a chocolate pretzel skeleton with a marshmallow for a head (Available 10/1-10/31)
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Inn – BoardWalk Bakery
    • Macaroon Pumpkin Pop – Coconut macaroon pumpkin on a stick (Available 10/24-10/31)
    • Candy Corny Cupcake – Vanilla cupcake filled with white chocolate candy corn mousse and topped with baker’s cream (Available 10/24-10/31)
    • Vampire Mickey Brownie – Ganache-covered brownie with Mickey ears and vampire fangs (Available 10/24-10/31)
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa – The Artist’s Palette
    • Poisoned Delight – Violet white chocolate mousse dome with an apple insert and fresh apple cake covered in a white chocolate glaçage (Available 10/1-10/31)

Disney Springs

  • Amorette’s Patisserie
    • Haunted Mansion Cake – Brownie with diplomat filling with purple and black chiffon cake (Available 9/5-10/31)
  • Dockside Margarita
    • Jack O’Lantern – Black rum, rum, white rum, orange-flavored triple sec liqueur, orange juice, lemonade, and a grenadine float (Available 9/5-10/31)
  • The Ganachery 
    • Caramel Skulls (Available 9/5-10/31) 
    • Pumpkin Spice Latte Ganache Squares (Available 9/5-10/31)
    • Pumpkin Spice Marshmallow (Available 9/5-10/31)
    • Mickey Mummy Piñata (Available 9/5-10/31)
    • Sister Elixir Cocoa Bomb (Available 10/19-10/31)
  • Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar
    • Witch’s Flight – Whiskey, white grape juice, lime juice, and sweet and sour with flavors of green apple, orange-tangerine, and blackberry (Available 9/5-10/31)
  • Outdoor Kiosks
    • Witch Way – Vodka, blue Curaçao beverage syrup, orange juice, and pineapple juice garnished with a poison apple glow cube (Available 9/5-10/31)
Photo: Disney

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

  • Creature Comforts and Flame Tree Barbecue 
    • Scar Cupcake – Red velvet cupcake with toasted marshmallow filling, chocolate marshmallow frosting, chocolate pebbles, and white chocolate flames with an edible icing image of Scar (Available 10/1-11/4) 
  • Mahindi, Feeding Ground, Cornivores, and Trek Snacks 
    • Poison Apple Sipper 
  • Restaurantosaurus
    • Maleficent Cupcake – Purple velvet cupcake with blood orange curd, vanilla frosting, crisp pearls, and white chocolate flames with Maleficent medallion (Available 10/1-11/4)

Magic Kingdom Park

  • Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies
    • Prince John Sucker – Tart green apple lemonade slush topped with whipped cream and a ring pop (Available 8/10-10/31)
  • Golden Oak Outpost
    • Mocha Chocolate Chip – Frozen mocha topped with whipped cream, chocolate chips, and a sugar acorn (Available 8/10-10/31)
  • Main Street Outdoor Vending Carts
    • Maleficent Churro – Churro covered in chocolate cookie crumble drizzled with purple icing topped with green and purple sugar (Available 8/10-10/31)
  • Storybook Treats
    • Five Dozen Egg Slush – Frozen custard with brown sugar topped with whipped cream garnished with a cinnamon stick (Available 8/10-10/31)

Disney After Hours Boo Bash Exclusive Treats

  • Sleepy Hollow
    • Foolish Mortal Funnel Cake – Funnel cake topped with chocolate cookie crumbles, purple vanilla ice cream, caramel drizzle, and M&M’s milk chocolate Ghoul’s Mix (Available 8/10-10/31)
  • Golden Oak Outpost
    • Apple Ginger Dale – Frozen apple cider mixed with ginger ale topped with whipped cream and chopped TWIX cookies bars (Available 8/10-10/31)

Disney’s Hollywood Studios 

  • ABC Commissary
    • Caramel Apple Tart – Spiced caramel cheesecake mousse apple served atop a cinnamon apple tart (Available 8/10 – 11/11)
    • Chocolate Mousse – Raspberry dark chocolate mousse, chocolate almond cake, a layer of hazelnut crunch, and whipped chocolate-hazelnut cheesecake (Available 8/10 -11/11)
  • Backlot Express and Trolley Car Café
    • Spooky Ghost Cupcake – Fudge-filled chocolate cupcake topped with cookies & cream buttercream, spooky sprinkles, and vanilla meringue ghost (Available 8/10 -10/31)
  • Backlot Express, ABC Commissary, PizzeRizzo, and Rosie’s All-American Café 
    • Frozen Apple Cider – Frozen apple cider topped with green apple boba balls (Available 8/10 – 10/31)
    • Alcoholic Frozen Apple Cider with Whiskey – Frozen apple cider with whiskey topped with green apple boba balls (Available 8/10-10/31)
  • Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge
    • Misty Whisper – Vanilla vodka, orange-flavored triple sec liqueur, orange-tangerine syrup, and vanilla ice-cream mix (Available 8/10-10/31)
  • Fairfax Fare and Catalina Eddie’s
    • Pumpkin Spice Cookie – Pumpkin spice shortbread cookie covered in white chocolate (Available 8/10-10/31)
  • Hollywood Scoops 
    • Halloween Shake – Candy corn ice cream shake topped with a vanilla cake donut, whipped cream, spooky sprinkles, and candy corn (Available 8/10-10/31)
  • Oasis Canteen, Sunshine Day Bar, Animation Bar  
    • Sweet Poison – Coconut rum, blue Curaçao beverage syrup, rum, and pineapple juice (Available 8/10-10/31)
  • Outdoor Carts
    • Halloween Brownie – Chocolate Mickey brownie with fun Halloween sprinkles (Available 8/10-9/30)
    • Halloween Popcorn Mix (Available 8/10-10/31)
  • PizzeRizzo
    • Pumpkin Cannoli – Spooky cannoli filled with whipped pumpkin cheesecake (Available 8/10-10/31)
  • Rosie’s All-American Café
    • Witch’s Hat Mousse – Whipped blackberry panna cotta sitting on green apple mousse with salted caramel crispy pearls and chocolate shortbread cookie (Available 8/10-10/31)
  • The Trolley Car Café
    • Pumpkin Mousse – Milk chocolate chai mousse filled with pumpkin bread set atop a chocolate shortbread cookie and vanilla buttercream (Available 8/10-10/31)
  • Woody’s Lunch Box
    • Halloween Lunch Box Tart – Chocolate-hazelnut filled lunch box tart frosted with spooky vanilla icing, Halloween sprinkles, and candy corn (Available 8/10-10/31)

EPCOT 

  • Block & Hans
    • Spiked Frozen Apple Pie with Ole Smoky Apple Pie Moonshine, Minute Maid Apple Juice, and Cinnamon
  • Canada Popcorn Cart
    • Spooky Caramel-Apple Cider in a Poison Apple Sipper (Coming Soon!)

As you can see, there are dreadfully delicious delights for everyone! Keep an eye out for the Mickey Mummy Popcorn Bucket coming soon to all four parks and Disney Springs. Also, be sure to check out Disney After Hours Boo Bash, a new event featuring Halloween-themed cavalcades, character sightings, trick or treating throughout the park and more. Disney After Hours Boo Bash will take place on select nights from August 10 through October 31.

Photo: Disney

And another frightfully fun favorite is materializing at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with the return of Minnie’s Halloween Dine – beginning August 10 until November 3.  A monster of a feast will be served to your table at Hollywood & Vine with Disney characters and friends making special appearances in costumes for the season!

More thrilling (and chilling) Halloween magic is coming to Disney Parks this year so keep checking back for updates and other “spirited” surprises.  

Thanks Disney Parks Blog!

Top 5 Reasons to Love Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

When traveling with your family, finding relaxing accommodations to stay at while not breaking the budget is key. All of Universal Orlando Resort’s uniquely-themed hotels offer an incredible array of benefits and amenities, but none meet the extra-affordable value and levels of relaxation needed for larger families quite like Universal’s Endless Summer Resort. This resort features Dockside Inn and Suites and Surfside Inn and Suites, both of which give you the surf culture and beach life vibes you’re looking for on a Florida vacation. There really is no comparison in Orlando when you look at the price value and pair it with amenities designed with families in mind and theme park perks exclusive to Universal hotel guests.

If you’re hooked and want to know more, we are sharing the top five reasons we think you’ll love staying at Dockside Inn and Suites for your family’s next Universal Orlando Resort vacation.

1. Exclusive Food and Drinks (Most Under $12!)

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

By far my favorite thing about Dockside Inn and Suites is the food and drinks. There are a plethora of unique options for the whole family like the Pier 8 Egg Muffin, Dockworker Wrap, or the Chicken and Waffles bucket. Don’t miss the fun Wet n’ Wild inspired cocktails you can get poolside (Wet n’ Wild was the longtime water park that was previously located where Universal’s Endless Summer Resort is now). And for craft beer drinkers, there is the Sunset Blonde, which is a Mango Blonde Ale brewed exclusively for the resort.

2. More Than Half of the Hotel is 2-Bedroom Suites

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

During vacation, your hotel is your home away from home. You want to be able to relax when you get back to your room after a day in the theme parks. Having a 2-bedroom suite gives you much-needed space to recharge for tomorrow. The kids can spread out and have their space, while mom and dad can get some privacy, too. You don’t even need to spend the extra cash for connecting rooms. Also, talk about spacious — these suites sleep up to six and have a kitchenette, picnic table for meals, double vanity, and plenty of suitcase storage. 

3. A Huge Hotel Calls for Two HUGE Pools

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

When I’m looking at hotels for an upcoming vacation, one of the deciding factors is the pool because I know we’re going to spend a full day relaxing poolside. Dockside Inn and Suites makes it an easy choice for the sole fact that it has not one, but two massive pools. Plus, there’s a fun splash pad area for kids to run around in, and for mom and dad, two large pool bars to grab an umbrella drink.

4. There are More Than 1,000 Longboards Around the Hotel

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Universal’s Endless Summer Resort was designed by the same creative teams who bring the theme parks to life, so you know it’s going to be incredible with every detail. It’s inspired by surf culture and you see it come to life through every aspect of your stay, especially the design elements. Dockside Inn and Suites hooks into the chill and relaxing side of shore life with driftwood details, photorealistic artwork, overall color palette, and longboards. Each room has a custom-made longboard made by Quiet Flight just for Dockside, resulting in 1,024 longboards in total around the hotel!

5. It’s a Short Ride to the Theme Parks and an Even Shorter Walk to Surfside Inn and Suites

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Any chance you can save time on commuting during vacation is a plus. Staying at Dockside Inn and Suites gives you a direct ride to Universal CityWalk and the theme parks with just a short 5-10 minute ride on the shuttles that come every 15 minutes. Plus, after your short shuttle ride, you can get into the theme parks before regular day guests because of Early Park Admission. The extra bonus is you can take a short walk over to Surfside Inn and Suites right next door if you want to check out the surfboard-shaped pool or a different dining option. (Surfside Inn and Suites is temporarily suspending operations. Please click here for more information.)

These are just a few of my favorite things about Dockside Inn and Suites. Get all the details hereand share below what you’re looking forward to doing during your next vacation with us.

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

Thanks Universal Orlando Resort Blog!

Looking for the perfect outfit for your daughter to wear to Universal Orlando Resort? Check out DotDotSmile or join DotDotSmile by Siera!

Complete List of Iconic Disney World Photos You Need to Take on Vacation

What are some of the most iconic Disney World photos? Wondering which memories you’ll most want to capture? We have some ideas for the best Disney World photos you need to take during your vacation.

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom is the original Walt Disney World theme park. You’ll find so many iconic attractions and photo opportunities throughout the park. As you enter the park, you can stop for a picture in front of the train station. Then, the real magic lies behind there.

As you enter the park, you’ll find Town Square Theater to your right. You can meet Mickey Mouse in his rehearsal room here. This is a great photo opportunity with him and Disney PhotoPass photographers are happy to help you capture the moment.

Of course, you’ll want to capture your family’s first reaction of Cinderella Castle as you walk down Main Street, U.S.A. You can also stop in the hub as soon as you pass under the train station for a great shot of Main Street, U.S.A AND Cinderella Castle behind you.

If you have little ones, you can’t miss the classic photo of their first ride on Dumbo (or in the extra one outside of the exit, just for photos). You’ll also want to capture the afternoon Festival of Fantasy parade in addition to the nighttime spectacular, Happily Ever After.

If you need a photo for your Instagram, don’t miss the Purple Wall at the entrance to Tomorrowland.

EPCOT

Spaceship Earth is the park icon for EPCOT so it’s a great photo spot. When there isn’t construction, you can stop for a picture in front of the fountains and/or with the planters advertising any current festivals. PhotoPass Photographers are often stationed on both sides of Spaceship Earth so you can grab a photo on the way in or out of the park.

A fun photo for kids of all ages is found in the Seas pavilion. At the exit of The Seas with Nemo and Friends attraction, you’ll find Bruce’s Shark World with a life size model of Bruce from “Finding Nemo.” You can even climb into his mouth for a fun picture.

Another Instagram-worthy destination is the Bubblegum Wall located at either exit of Spaceship Earth. We’re really hoping they aren’t affected by the planned refurbishment!

There are some amazing photo opportunities throughout the World Showcase. You can find Disney characters, topiaries during the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, delicious treats during the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival,

Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios has a replica of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre at the center of the park. You can stop for photos as you enter with this as your background. As you get closer, you can even find some famous handprints from movie stars and even Disney characters.

If you are a Star Wars fan, you can fill your memory card with Disney World photos from Galaxy’s Edge. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is the latest addition to Hollywood Studios and has tons of incredible photo opportunities. You can find ships and speeders, the Millennium Falcon, Savi’s Workshop, Droid Depot, Stormtroopers, and more.

Toy Story Land is such a fun and whimsical area. You can stop for a photo in front of a larger than life Woody statue as you enter Andy’s backyard. You’ll also love the popsicle stick wall, green army men, K’nex fencing, larger than life Tinker Toys, and more.

At the end of Sunset Boulevard, you’ll find Tower of Terror. You can stop for pictures down Sunset Boulevard with Tower of Terror behind you. Down Sunset Boulevard, you will also find Rock n Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. It offers a fun photo op with the larger than life guitar at the entrance.

Animal Kingdom

The park icon for Animal Kingdom is the Tree of Life. Be sure to snap a family picture in front of the Tree of Life as you enter the park. The Tree of Life is full of intricate carvings so check it out as you get closer and from different angles to view the unique animals carved into it.

Over in Pandora, you can often find the Pandora ranger in his Exo-Carrier utility suit outside of Windtraders. You can ask this Pandora Conservation Initiative scientist about the otherworldly landscape around you and his conservation efforts in Pandora.

DiVine is a unique performer in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. She blends in very well with the foliage and greenery around her. If you can spot her, she’s a fun and unique photo opportunity. She is usually found near the entrance of the park or on the walkway between Asia and Africa.

Donald’s Dino Bash has taken over DinoLand U.S.A. You can find some Disney friends like Chip and Dale dressed up like dinosaurs or DuckTales characters meeting guests. This colorful area has some fun photo spots you just can’t miss.

Disney Springs

The Disney PhotoPass Studios at Disney Springs is a “must do” for guests with Memory Maker! You can take FREE photos with a PhotoPass photographer in the studio that will automatically be added to your My Disney Experience account. They even have fun backgrounds and signs that you can add to your photo shoot.

The LEGO Store has some incredible creations surrounding the store. You can often find Cinderella, Snow White, BB-8, and even the Loch Ness monster in the lagoon. There’s also a life size lego creation of Woody & Buzz at the entrance which makes a great photo opportunity.

If you’re planning to pin trade, be sure to stop by Pin Traders. There’s some fun statues of Disney characters for your pictures. Plus, you can trade with the cast members and/or pin board.

Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

If you’re staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, take some pictures of your resort, the pool, and even the room. You may also want to snap a photo of fun transportation methods like the monorail, Skyliner, or ferry.

If you participate in any of the resort activities like the afternoon pool party or Movie Under the Stars, be sure to capture those memories, too.

Experiences

There are some experiences that you’ll want to remember, as well. You can find many of these throughout the parks and resorts.

  • Walt Disney World “welcome” sign as you enter property
  • Meeting Characters
  • Pin Trading
  • Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
  • Favorite Meals
  • Disney Parks Snacks like the Dolp Whip, Mickey pretzel, cupcakes, and more

If you choose to purchase Memory Maker, Disney PhotoPass Photographers can help you capture some of these iconic Disney World photos throughout your visit. You’ll receive digital downloads of your photos and even videos in your My Disney Experience account.

You can even download our favorite Disney World photos spot checklist for your next visit here:

10 Things You Need When Visiting Disney World in Summer

Summer is one of the most popular times of year for a Walt Disney World Resort vacation. With the kids off from school, summer break can be a wonderful time to enjoy a Disney World vacation. There are just a few extra things we recommend packing when visiting Disney World in summer.

Ponchos or Packable Rain Coats: Summer in Florida is notorious for an afternoon thunderstorm. They’re often quick, but come down hard so you can get wet FAST! Therefore, we recommend a sturdy poncho or packable rain coat, especially in case it gets windy!

Fans: Let’s face it… summer in Florida is HOT! So, you need easy ways to stay cool. I have found that the fan you bring varies greatly with personal preference. My kids love the spray misting fans while some guests prefer the neck fans that allow you to remain hands free. Either way, you will want a portable way to stay cool while you explore the parks.

Travel Umbrella: We choose to bring both our packable rain coats AND a small travel umbrella. Depending on how the wind is blowing or how hard the rain is coming down, you may be able to just use the umbrella or you want it in addition to the rain coats to keep as much of your body dry as possible.

Water Bottle: Did you know that you can get a FREE cup of ice water from any quick service restaurant? If you bring a reusable water bottle with you, you can refill it throughout the day from these quick service locations, water fountains or even some automatic water refill stations, like this one in Pandora in Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park.

Sunscreen: If we’re honest, you probably need sunscreen in Florida year round, but especially when you’re visiting Disney World in summer! Please remember to bring sunscreen for the whole family. You will likely want something to throw in your park bag to be able to reapply throughout the day. We especially love the sunscreen sticks for little ones!

Cooling Towels: Cooling towels are a portable and compact way to quickly and easily cool off in the parks. We recommend a reusable cooling towel that stays cool for at least a couple hours and can be rewetted in the parks. These cooling towels even come with a carrying pouch and carabiner clip and were designed to draw the sweat away from your skin to keep you cool.

Sunglasses: It can be so important to have a pair of sunglasses for a day in the parks, even for your kids! Although you’ll likely encounter that pop up rain shower in the afternoon, you should still have plenty of sunshine to enjoy, too!

Waterproof Shoes: This is another item that can look different for each guest. I personally swear by Reef flip flops and wear them all day in the theme parks. However, some prefer a sturdier outdoor sandal like Keen sandals or even a water shoe like Crocs.

Face Wipes: If you’re visiting Disney World in summer, you’re going to get hot and sweaty visiting the parks all day. It can be so refreshing to be able to pull out a cool face wipe to wipe away the sweat and feel fresh and clean.

Stroller Cover: If you’re traveling with a stroller, I HIGHLY recommend purchasing a stroller cover. Unfortunately, we learned this the hard way when my son was little and we took our first visit. Although we were seasoned Disney Parks visitors, we had to learn all the extra things we’d need when traveling with a little one. There’s nothing worse than coming out to a soaked stroller that you’re no longer able to use for the day.

What do you need while visiting Disney World in summer? Share your tips for a summer Disney World vacation below!

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Everything You Need to Know About Volcano Bay at Universal Orlando Resort

Picture This: You’re driving down the interstate. The construction is never-ending and the traffic is forever-maddening. You’ve got 6-37 different obligations in your life that demand your attention every day and between the podcast you’re trying to focus on, the meals you’re preparing for your family in your head, and the story your daughter is telling you from the backseat — you’ve got a lot going on. And then, like a beacon of hope, you see it. A volcano appears before you and suddenly all you can think about is relaxing on the beach with a tropical beverage in your hand, planning which raft ride you’ll adventure on next… This dream can be your reality at Universal’s water theme park, Volcano Bay!

The beauty of a visit to Volcano Bay is that you really shouldn’t feel the need to plan TOO much. This is your chance to sit back and relax as the island vibes whisk your worries away. So, consider this less a guide to planning and more a good friend taking you by the metaphorical hand and guiding you through Volcano Bay with my tried-and-true tips and recommendations.

WHERE TO STAY

If you are planning to include Volcano Bay in your vacation to Universal Orlando Resort, I cannot recommend enough staying at one of Universal’s hotels. You’ve got so many incredible options to choose from (and whichever you go with you’ll be avoiding sand getting in your car, which is the real dream here). Here are my thoughts to help you narrow it down a little…

  • Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort | Staying at Cabana Bay is the number one best piece of advice I can give you for a visit to Volcano Bay. First off, Cabana Bay and Volcano Bay are incredibly close to each other — you can even  book a standard room or family suite with a view of Volcano Bay. When you’re ready to get up and get going, you have access to a scenic walking-path that will lead you right from Cabana Bay to the park. Plus, your whole experience at Cabana Bay will transport you to a 1950’s beachside resort with Volcano Bay in your backyard!
  • Universal’s Aventura Hotel or Loews Sapphire Falls Resort | Both Universal’s Aventura Hotel and Loews Sapphire Falls Resort are also super close to Volcano Bay (you can even catch the volcano light up and erupt at night from Aventura’s rooftop bar, Bar 17 Bistro). They also have access to the walking path that leads right into Volcano Bay. EDITOR’S NOTE: These hotels are temporarily suspending operations. However, Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort and Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn & Suites are currently open. Details for our other hotels will be announced at a later time.

Another perk of staying at a Universal hotel is Early Park Admission into Volcano Bay, which will give you all the freedom in the world to pick the perfect beach chair, grab breakfast at Kohola Reef Restaurant & Social Club and relax, or get first dibs on your favorite ride before everyone else.

BEFORE YOU ARRIVE…

TapuTapu

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

TapuTapu has totally changed the game of water theme park experiences! You’ll be given a wearable to use for the day upon arrival at Volcano Bay and can use it to make cashless purchases with TapTu Pay and for fun interactive experiences throughout the park.

Head here for more in-depth details on TapuTapu before you arrive.

Lockers

There are multiple sizes of lockers available for rent in five different locations throughout Volcano Bay. Each one has a kiosk that will walk you through how to pay for your locker and get it synced up with your TapuTapu for ease throughout the day. There are also private lockers when you book a private cabana or premium seating option.

Upgrades

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Securing either a private cabana or premium seatingis well worth it when I think of all the perks that come along with them. I can honestly tell you that every time I visit Volcano Bay for the day, I go ahead and get premium seating — I love the ease it adds. 13/10 recommend.

Learn more and call ahead to add one to your visit.

The main way you’ll use your TapuTapu, though, is for the virtual line experience for the rides. Just head to the attraction you’re interested in, tap your TapuTapu, explore other areas of the park while you wait, and then your TapuTapu will vibrate to let you know when it’s time to return and ride.

Map

Keep an eye out around the park for maps of Volcano Bay and be sure to check your Official Universal Orlando Resort app for the map as well. You can even go ahead and peruse it some before you arrive, too. Volcano Bay is split into three different villages — Wave Village (where you enter into), Rainforest Village (near the back of the park), and River Village (to the right of the volcano). Plus there is the Volcano itself which has its own attractions! Each village has everything you’ll need — lockers, restrooms, beach chairs, restaurants, sunshine, etc.

Transportation

The best option if you’re looking for quick transportation to Volcano Bay is staying at Cabana Bay, Sapphire Falls, or Aventura Hotel (helloooo walking path). There are also shuttles to Volcano Bay from the other Universal Orlando hotel properties. One of my favorite things about Universal Orlando Resort is how close everything is, so when we talk about shuttle rides, those shuttle rides are quick and easy.

If you are not staying at a Universal hotel, just drive yourself to the usual Universal Orlando parking garages and follow the signage for Volcano Bay parking. From there, you’ll be led to a quick shuttle to Volcano Bay.

TIP: Stay at a Universal hotel! Not only will you get Early Park Admission to Volcano Bay, but you’ll end up saving time and money by taking a shuttle to Volcano Bay rather than parking in the garage.

What to Bring

I definitely recommend bringing a towel (there are some available to rent, but for ease I’d say bring your own), wearing a swimsuit with some sort of cover-up, and wearing shoes that can get wet. Other than that, I’d say travel light with the same necessities you’d pack for a day at the beach — refillable water-bottle, sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, etc. Just remember whatever you bring needs to easily fit into a locker or be left behind at your beach chair when you ride the rides.

And don’t forget your face-covering!

Read more here for our tips when you’re packing for a Universal Orlando Resort vacation.

Backstory

Read the backstory of Volcano Bay to fully appreciate your experience while in the park!

Coloring pages

Ask and you shall receive. Here are some fun Volcano bay coloring pages you can have the kids do in preparation of your visit!

Read through this know-before-you-go blog for the top 10 insider tips to Volcano Bay.

WHAT TO DO

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

There is a lot to see and do at Volcano Bay — it’s an incredibly cool and immersive experience that provides the perfect blend of thrill and chill. I say you explore some and plan to take on all Volcano Bay has to offer!

Attractions

Honu ika Moana
Location: River Village

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Looking to ease into your day with a nice raft ride with your group? Jump in the Virtual Line Experience for the green slide and you’re all set. Itching for a bit more thrill? Go for the blue and enjoy the long, twisting, multi-passenger raft ride that is not at all for the faint-of heart. This option is more intense than its counterpart ika Moana, but I honestly suggest trying both! It’s good to know your threshold.

Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides
Location: Rainforest Village

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Climb to the top of the volcano and enter one of two clear tubes with a drop door to be plummeted down into the water below. These slides intertwined, twist, turn, and delightfully thrill. And if you’re ready to up your game and find even more thrill…

Ko’okiri Body Plunge 
Location: Wave Village

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

You’re in luck. In my opinion, this is the thrilliest ride in the park. It’s kind of like the body slides (climb to the top of a volcano, get into a clear tube, wait for the bottom to fall out), but about 100,000 times more terrifying. Those few seconds that you’re in the enclosure waiting for the door to open? Make your peace with Vol (the volcano spirit) then ‘cause this ride is NO joke.

Kopiko Wai Winding River
Location: River Village

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

A winding river is a staple in any good water park. But at Volcano Bay, the art of the winding river is perfected as Kopiko Wai takes you through a volcano during a relaxing float through the park.

Ohno & Ohyah of the Ohyah and Ohno Drop Slides 
Location: Rainforest Village

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Slide for 20 or so seconds and then JUST LIKE THAT you’re flying through the air four to six feet above a pool of water. Definitely recommend conquering Ohyah and then leveling up to Ohno. You got this.

Krakatau Aqua Coaster 
Location: River Village

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

This coaster is a feat of technology, in my opinion. It’s powered by magnets and is a unique water coaster that you’ll scream, laugh, and get wet on. Ride it once for the initial marvel of it all (a water ride that goes down AND up??) and then again to try and figure out how it all works (but HOW?!). And then again and again and again ‘cause it’s just incredibly fun!

Tonga and Raki of Taniwha Tubes
Location: Rainforest Village

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Part tube ride, part an opportunity for mischievous tiki statues to splash you with jets of water, this attraction has several different slide and tube options for you to try out. And all of them are a twisty good time.

TeAwa The Fearless River 
Location: Rainforest Village

This is not your grandma’s lazy river. It’s fast, it’s got a few surprises, and it is overall a silly good time. Throw on a life jacket and let the choppy waves and churning rapids take you on a ride!

Maku and Puihi of Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides
Location: Rainforest Village

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

I know it’s not good to play favorites, but the Maku and Puihi Round Raft Rides are tied for first for me. No spoilers, but I love the eruptive way that Maku ends and the weightless moment Puihi delivers. Just don’t ask me to pick a favorite between the two.

Punga Racers
Location: Rainforest Village

For anyone visiting Volcano Bay with siblings, Punga Racers is a MUST. This body slide will pin you against your fellow riders and give the winner bragging rights for the rest of the day.

If you already know you’re looking to hit all the thrill rides, we’ve compiled them here for you.

Pool Experiences

Waturi Beach
Location: Wave Village

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Waturi Beach is pretty hard to miss — just head to the base of Krakatau (the volcano)! Wade into the wave pool for a dip or just enjoy the view with your toes in the sand.

Puka Uli Lagoon
Location: Rainforest Village

I love thrill rides and body slides as much as anyone, but sometimes it’s nice to just take it easy in a leisure pool. Puka Uli Lagoon gives you exactly that opportunity — and with some fun bongo drums to play, too.

The Reef
Location: Wave Village

Another leisure pool like Puka Uli Lagoon, only this one comes with its own private waterfall and the benefit to beat all benefits: From The Reef you get a front-row seat to the riders braving the Ko’okiri Body Plunge.

For the Little Ones

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Runamukka Reef
Location: River Village

If you’re visiting Volcano Bay with kiddos, take them by Runamukka Reef to explore this children’s play area! Plenty of water slides and water-spraying sea creatures for them to enjoy.

Tot Tiki Reef
Location: River Village

Tot Tiki is also a children’s play area, though it is more geared toward toddler-aged children. Plus there’s a mini-volcano and a mini-anything is worth seeing!

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Whenever you need more tips on visiting Universal Orlando Resort with young children, check out our Guide for Infants blog and Things to do With Your Kids at Universal blog.

FOOD AND DRINK

Kohola Reef Restaurant & Social Club
Location: Wave Village

Photo; Universal Orlando Resort

Island food is my kind of food and if there’s a chance to eat coconut-encrusted anything at the foot of a volcano, I’m in. This is an airy, beach location that you can grab a bite from or if you have a private cabana or premium seating, sit back and order your tropical favorites right to you.

FAVORITES: I’m a big fan of the Coconut Curry Chicken (I’m also a sucker for sweet plantains on the side of anything) or the Jerked Mahi Sandwich.

Whakawaiwai Eats 
Location: River Village

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

A perfect spot for the combination of island-atmosphere and pizza-eating. There are also plenty of healthy options here if you’re suddenly remembering you need to be in a swimsuit for the rest of the day! 

FAVORITES: Island BBQ Chicken Pizza is a top choice if you’re in the mood for pizza (it’s one of my favorite pizzas at Universal Orlando Resort!). But I’m also a sucker for a well-crafted Caesar Salad and the one at Whakawaiwai is great!

Bambu
Location: Rainforest Village

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Swing by Bambu for plenty of yummy burger, sandwich, and salad options.

FAVORITES: The Quinoa Edamame Burger is easily one of the best burgers I’ve ever had — including meat options. It is seriously delicious and typing this right now is making me crave it. Grab a Chocolate Pineapple Upside Down Cake to complete the meal.

The Feasting Frog
Location: Rainforest Village

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

I mean where else are you going to find an eatery shaped like a frog? Another great food spot and this one has TACOS.

FAVORITES: Hard for me to choose between the Chicken Tacos and the Poke Poke Bowl, so how about I order one, you order the other, and we can split?

Koka Poroka Ice Cream Kona
Location: Wave Village

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

What’s a water theme park day without ice cream? I don’t even want to know. I just so happen to think ice cream tastes best after a warm day splashing around and soaking up the sun. And the ice cream at Koka Poroka is proving my point with its deliciousness.

FAVORITES: I mean, I gotta go with Waturi Fusion — a combination of banana, blue raspberry, orange, and strawberry. Bonus, it looks beautiful in pictures if you can wait long enough before taking a bite!

Kunuku and Dancing Dragons Boat Bars
Location: Rainforest Village (Kunuku) and Wave Village (Dancing Dragons)

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

Your relaxing island day wouldn’t be complete without a stop by one of Volcano Bay’s Boat Bars!

Looking for more food and beverage details at Volcano Bay? Check out this foodie’s guide.

SHOPPING

Krakatoa Katy’s & Waturi Marketplace
Location: Wave Village

Whether you forgot to pack a beach necessity like sunglasses or sunscreen, or you’re in the market for some Volcano Bay souvenirs, check out the two merchandise locations in Volcano Bay. Waturi Marketplace is practically a boutique for women with some of their stylish options, and a great spot for beach apparel for the kids.

HIDDEN GEMS

Waterfall Cove

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

If you can find this spot within the volcano, you will feel like you’ve stumbled on your own private oasis. We won’t tell anyone if you won’t.

Vol, The Spirit of Krakatau
Wander into the volcano itself to speak to Vol. Trust me, you’ve never experienced this kind of interactive magic at a water park.

TapTu Play
Keep an eye out for spots throughout the park where you can use your TapuTapu to splash other guests!

Selfie Stations
There are also plenty of spots where you can tap your TapuTapu, snap a pose, and get a unique shot of you in picturesque locations throughout Volcano Bay.

OK, now that you know everything Volcano Bay has to offer, what are you most excited to try? Or if you’re a Volcano Bay pro already, let me know in the comments below your own tips and tricks!

Thanks Universal Orlando Resort Blog!