Category Archives: United States

Kick Off 2019 with Get Your Ears On – A Mickey and Minnie Celebration at Disneyland

From the Disney Parks Blog:

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

To commemorate 90 years of Mickey Mouse, the Disneyland Resort will kick off 2019 with Get Your Ears On – A Mickey and Minnie Celebration!

Starting January 2019, guests will be invited to the biggest celebration of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse in Disneyland history. Get Your Ears On will celebrate the beloved Mickey and Minnie, with exciting new entertainment and décor at Disneyland park, plus limited-time food and beverage offerings and festive event merchandise.

Here’s how Disneyland will be celebrating:

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

“Mickey’s Mix Magic”: The night will light up at Disneyland park with a new high-energy projection show, celebrating Mickey Mouse and creating a family-fun dance party atmosphere throughout the park. State-of-the-art projections, lighting and lasers will transform Main Street, U.S.A., the water screens of the Rivers of America and the façade of “it’s a small world” into a colorful, dazzling array of sights and sounds, with “DJ” Mickey spinning dance-tastic twists on favorite Disney melodies. And on select nights, “Mickey’s Mix Magic” will go sky high when the show is enhanced with the addition of fireworks. “Mickey’s Mix Magic,” will debut on Jan. 18.

Mickey’s Soundsational Parade: This popular parade returns with a rockin’ new opening to kick off the party—Mickey Mouse will lead the way in a new larger-than-life opening, inspired by classic Mickey pull toys. Chip ‘n’ Dale will arrive with a giant celebration cake, as Mickey leads a whimsical musical procession of Disney characters. “Mickey’s Soundsational Parade” returns to Disneyland park on Jan. 25.

Valentine’s Month: Celebrate the love of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse during Valentine’s month! Disneyland park will feature lovely, festive Valentine’s décor, including a new Mickey Mouse flower “portrait” on Main Street, U.S.A. Guests may also choose to partake in Minnie’s Valentine Surprise, a special scavenger hunt experience in Disneyland park. Once guests have purchased a commemorative map and stickers at select merchandise locations, they may search for the hidden valentines that Minnie has left for Mickey around the park. Valentine’s Month at Disneyland park kicks off Jan. 22 through Feb. 18.

Food, beverage, merchandise and more: Specialty food, beverage, novelty items and merchandise will be available for a limited time, including “classic” Mickey- and Minnie-shaped foods with new festive twists, exclusive Get Your Ears On-themed treats and Valentine-inspired specialty items. In addition, limited edition celebration merchandise will be available for all ages, including apparel, pins, plush, and of course, Mickey and Minnie ears.

Join us at the Disneyland Resort as we celebrate 90 years of magic with the legendary duo that started it all!

Five Ways to Celebrate the New Year and Ring in 2019 at Disney World

From the Disney Parks Blog:

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Five Ways to Celebrate the New Year and Ring in 2019 at Disney World

Looking for a great way to ring in the New Year? We’ve got you covered! From dancing and dining to midnight toasts and fireworks, there’s a whole host of celebrations happening at Walt Disney World Resort to help you celebrate the New Year and ring in 2019 at Disney World!

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

New Year’s Eve at Flying Fish at Disney’s BoardWalk

If you’re looking for a night full of family, friends, and elegance, then Flying Fish at Disney’s BoardWalk is the New Year’s event for you! Celebrate with a multi-course, prix fixe menu with dishes such as Aged Cognac Lobster Bisque, Wild Alaskan King Blue Crab, Chilean Sea Bass, and more. For dessert, you’ll love the Cocoa Beach (chocolate hazelnut cake with warm ganache) or the Florida Sunset (vanilla custard with lemon broth, segmented fruits, and white chocolate).

This event is available for booking via phone only. To book an available seating, call (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-3463. And for more info on this event, visit the Walt Disney World Resort website.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

New Year’s Eve Bash at Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney’s BoardWalk

For tons of fun and a swinging late-night party, you should definitely come on out to Atlantic Dance Hall for the New Year’s Eve Bash! Kick off the brand-new year with rockin’ music, tasty treats, and a dash of Disney magic as you count down to midnight. This festive holiday celebration includes fabulous views of the Epcot fireworks, a live DJ, party hats and horns, a mouthwatering light-bite menu, two beverage vouchers, and a Champagne toast at midnight. On the menu is assorted antipasto and charcuterie, cheeseburger spring rolls, pork pot stickers, vegetable samosa, a create-your-own slider and taco bar, and a dip station including veggies, chips and salsa, pretzel bites, assorted flatbreads, and more. For those with a sweet tooth, you’ll enjoy a selection of desserts including mini-cupcakes and macarons.

Guests must be 21 and older with a valid ID to attend this event. This event is available for booking via phone only. To make reservations for this event, call (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-3463. And for more info, visit the Walt Disney World Resort website.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Special New Year’s Eve Dining at Monsieur Paul at Epcot

Make a visit to the France pavilion at Epcot for an experience to remember at Monsieur Paul! This acclaimed gourmet restaurant will be open for lunch on Dec. 31, 2018. For this special lunch, Monsieur Paul presents braised ribs with bordelaise sauce, roasted halibut with beurre blanc sauce, roast turkey, and more. There is also still some limited availability for the 8:45 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. dinner seatings. Don’t forget to browse the delectable list of appetizers and side dishes, as well as a special New Year’s Eve dessert that will give you sweet memories throughout 2019!

For more info, seating times, and to make reservations, call (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-3463 to book an available seating or visit the Walt Disney World Resort website.

New Year’s Eve Dinner at World Show Place Pavilion at Epcot

On Dec. 31, bid adieu to 2018 at the World Show Place pavilion where a wonderful New Year’s Eve dinner buffet awaits you. Start your meal with a selection of savory soups and a selection of salads, including an amazing antipasto salad with basil, grilled vegetable and bean salad, roasted Ruskin tomato basil soup, and creamy seafood-and-corn chowder. A smorgasbord of enticing entrees is guaranteed to please any palate – from seafood mac and cheese with butter-toasted panko and fried chicken breast with corn gravy to gluten-friendly options like oven baked cod with tomatoes, olives and peppers, demi braised beef with mushrooms and pearl onions and apple cider brined pork with roasted apples and cherries. Kids can dig into chicken fritters, meatballs with red sauce and other tasty plates. Don’t forget to save room for an incredible selection of desserts – fresh cut fruit with berries, key lime raspberry glitter tarts, snow-dusted hazelnut-stuffed chocolate Bundt cakes, assorted cookies, cheesecakes and macarons and much more. Enjoy every morsel while listening to classic Disney tunes, then strike a pose by any of the unique vignettes for a fun photo op commemorating the occasion!

For more info and to make reservations, call (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-3463 to book an available seating or visit the Walt Disney World Resort website.

Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort Beach Dessert Party

There’s a party goin’ on at Clementine’s Beach on New Year’s Eve, and you won’t want to miss it! Kick off your evening at the beach with delectable sweets and eats including an assortment of yummy desserts, seasonal fruits, flavorful cheese, and refreshments including beer and wine. You’ll also have to opportunity to watch the stunning Magic Kingdom fireworks display from across Seven Seas Lagoon and toast to the New Year at midnight.

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

Top 12 Toys and Tricks to Find at Weasleys Wizard Wheezes

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort)

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley has many shops that long-time Harry Potter fans dream of visiting.

Most fans know the name of this infamous store; but for those who don’t, allow me to introduce you to Weasleys Wizard Wheezes: the joke shop founded by Fred and George Weasley. These unpredictable twins had a lifelong dream of opening a place to share their fun creations with all witches and wizards.

Some of the products are widely known, but there are many that the common Muggle may not be familiar with. Take a look at this list of 12 popular items you can find at this one-of-a-kind shop!

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort)

 1. Fever Fudge, Puking Pastilles, U-No-Poo, Fainting Fancies and Nosebleed Nougat

This range of sweets has been useful in getting students out of class for years at Hogwarts. Each sweet will give the user a different symptom such as fever, vomit, unconsciousness, or a nosebleed. You can pick the one you want to try or experience a variety of them with the Skiving Snackbox.

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort)

2. Screaming Yo-yo

The name definitely shrieks for itself with this magical toy. Its distracting screams can be heard from across the room!

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort)

3. Decoy Detonator

This popular item is typically used to create a diversion in a time of need. You’ve actually seen it in action before in the film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow: Part 1. Once dropped, there’s no way to catch it!

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort)

4. Love Potion

This powerful brew doesn’t need much of an explanation. Give it to the person you desire and see the magic happen yourself.

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort)

5. Chattering Teeth

Wind it up and the conversation will never stop!

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort)

6. Extendable Ear

Looking to eavesdrop? Get an Extendable Ear to listen to any quiet conversation from up to 12 feet away. Make sure your cat doesn’t eat it though… Yes, we’re talking about you, Crookshanks.

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort)

7. Boxing Telescope

I wouldn’t suggest taking a peek through this telescope. The Boxing Telescope is said to land a punch on whoever squeezes it, but we would never confirm or deny it.

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort)

8. Pink Elephant

This may look easy, but it only took twenty tries. Keep you and your friends easily entertained by seeing how many attempts it takes to perfectly flip this toy to land on its feet.

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort)

9. Duck on Bike

There’s an assortment of Muggle toys inside the shop as a tribute to the twins’ father, Arthur. He was fascinated with Muggle artifacts, so there are a few vintage toys you can get like the Duck on Bike, Elephant on Bike and Robot Lilliput.

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort)

10. Pygmy Puff

These furry little creatures are one of the Weasleys’ most popular bestsellers. They come in different shades of pink and purple, can be found in three different sizes and you may even get one that purrs! There’s also a fun naming ceremony for each Pygmy Puff that gets adopted.  The giant bell in the store is rung to announce the adoption and the new owner gets to tell everyone the name they chose.

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort)

11. Fanged Flyer

This type of Frisbee is just as fun as any other… as long as it is used with caution. The Fanged Flyer gets upset when you pet its teeth, which is why the handler’s glove is included with your purchase.

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort)

12. Cycling Dolores Umbridge

Last, but certainly not least, is the toy everyone loves to hate. Turn it on and watch her go!

These items (and many more) can all be found in Weasleys Wizard Wheezes at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida.

Which item from Weasleys Wizard Wheezes is a must-have for you during your next visit? Let us know in the comments!

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

2019 Epcot International Festival of the Arts to Offer 39 Days of Artful Fun

From the Disney Parks Blog:

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

You can kick off 2019 with the return of the 2019 Epcot International Festival of the Arts – a 39-day celebration of visual, culinary and performing arts from around the world. Beginning January 18 and running through February 25, 2019 the festival offers artful activities for the entire family, from special entertainment and interactive workshops to immersive art experiences and world-class cuisine.

New in 2019, guests can now sing along to their favorite Disney Broadway tunes seven days a week during the popular Disney on Broadway Concert Series, with daily showings at 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Each week, different pairs of Disney on Broadway stars will take the America Gardens Theatre stage to sing favorite songs from award-winning Disney on Broadway productions. The lineup will rotate regularly, featuring music from shows such as “The Lion King,” “Frozen” and “Beauty and the Beast”:

  • Kerry Butler (“Beauty and the Beast”) and Kevin Massey (“Tarzan”)
  • Meredith Inglesby (“The Little Mermaid”) and Steve Blanchard (“Beauty and the Beast”)
  • Arielle Jacobs and Adam Jacobs (“Aladdin”)
  • Heidi Blickenstaff (“Freaky Friday”) and Gavin Lee (“Mary Poppins”)
  • Ashley Brown (“Mary Poppins”) and Josh Strickland (“Tarzan”)
  • Kissy Simmons and Alton Fitzgerald White (“The Lion King”)

The concert series is included with park admission; reserved seating is available by booking a Disney on Broadway Concert Series Dining Package, which allows guests to make a breakfast, lunch or dinner reservation at a participating Epcot restaurant and later enjoy priority seating at a show. Dining package reservations open Nov. 8, and for more information, visit Disneyworld.com or call 407-939-3463.

Speaking of food … Epcot International Festival of the Arts will feature 13 Food Studios, plus other creative (and savory!) offerings around Epcot with an expanded menu of tastes and sips. Drop by The Artist’s Table for beef wellington with mushroom bordelaise, fennel cream and roasted baby vegetables, or enjoy smoked salmon and cream gâteau with egg yolk cream, paddlefish caviar and micro-herbs at The Painter’s Palate. Pop Eats! will serve up almond frangipane cake with raspberry and chocolate, while red wine-braised short rib with parsnip purée, broccolini, baby tomatoes and aged balsamic will be available at Cuisine Classique.

Guests will also find activities to the inspire artists of all ages. Here are a few fun highlights planned for the 2019 Epcot International Festival of the Arts:

  • Everyone’s invited to grab a paintbrush and help create a wall mural along World Showcase Plaza.
  • At the Artful Photo Opportunities, you can step inside masterworks of art and take photos with friends.
  • The Paint with a Disney Artist program invites guests to learn under the tutelage of a professional (offered select Fridays and Sundays, including continental breakfast, for an additional fee).
  • Performing artists are scheduled throughout the festival, demonstrating gravity-defying feats of strength, acrobatics and many other skills.
  • International musical and variety acts will share their talents with guests, including the return of Bodh’aktan to the Canada stage and Delta Q, a new group performing in Germany.
  • Guests can join in the fun of Figment’s Brush with the Masters Scavenger Hunt by purchasing a map at select merchandise locations.
  • A variety of workshops led by professionals will teach different artistic techniques, such as floral design, ink and paint, mixed-media art and more (offered Friday-Monday for an additional fee). As a memento of what they learn, guests will take their creations home with them. Details on workshop registration
    will be released soon.
  • Complimentary 30-minute seminars will give guests helpful instruction for producing their own artwork at home.

Now, more than ever is the time to start planning your visit to the 2019 Epcot International Festival of the Arts.

Disney After Hours Events Now Available at Three Parks

From the Disney Parks Blog:

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Disney After Hours events have been a huge hit with Walt Disney World Resort visitors. As a result of the success of Disney After Hours, more event nights are now set for Magic Kingdom Park, and for the first time ever, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom will join in on the fun!

Disney After Hours events are an opportunity to experience the magic of a Disney theme park for three hours after regular park hours, which means little-to-no wait for attractions, experiences and character greetings! You can even enter the park early – at 7 p.m. on your event night – before Disney After Hours begins. Ice cream, popcorn and select beverages are also included in your Disney After Hours admission, which is a separately priced ticket from daytime park admission.

Here’s what to expect at each park:

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Magic Kingdom Park
Enjoy classic favorite attractions from Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Space Mountain as well as newer favorites like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, plus many more. Event nights will run on: Dec. 3, 10, 2018; and Jan. 7, 17, 24 and 28, 2019; Feb. 7, 14, and 28, 2019; and March 7, 2019.

Tickets are currently available for Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom Park at DisneyWorld.com/DisneyAfterHours.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Imagine having little-to-no wait for newly opened Toy Story Land attractions, including Slinky Dog Dash, Alien Swirling Saucers and Toy Story Mania! Rockin’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror and other attractions will also be available. Select quick-service food & beverage locations will also stay open for purchases throughout the night. Event nights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be: Dec. 8, 15 and 22, 2018; and Jan. 5, 12 and 19, 2019; Feb. 2, 9 and 16, 2019; March 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30, 2019; and April 6 and 13, 2019.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Enjoy the best Disney’s Animal Kingdom has to offer at night, including heart-tugging Tree of Life Awakenings, the adventures within Pandora – The World of Avatar and more. Select quick-service food & beverage locations will remain open throughout the night for purchases. Dates at Disney’s Animal Kingdom are: Dec. 4, 12 and 18, 2018; and Jan. 8, 16, 22 and 31, 2019; and Feb. 5, 6, 12, 13, 19 and 26, 2019; and March 5, 20 and 27, 2019; and April 3, 2019.

Tickets for Disney After Hours events at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom are now on-sale through the Disney Reservation Center by calling 407-939-7795.

All Disney After Hours event tickets cost $125 + tax for advance purchase and $129 + tax for day-of purchases. Disney Vacation Club members and Annual Passholders do receive a discounted price $95 + tax.

Top Five Best Desserts at Universal Orlando Resort

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

The Orlando theme parks are known to offer the latest dessert crazes and biggest, most Instagram-worthy treats. You know, the kind of desserts that are so outrageous you can’t help but pause to get a perfect picture no matter how deliciously tempting it looks. Even though it’s hard to choose just five, here are the best desserts at Universal Orlando Resort.

Pick a special occasion — a birthday, an anniversary, or just being on vacation — are get ready. These treats from Universal Orlando Resort are indulgent with a capital “I”, so invite your friends to dig in as these are made for sharing!

THE BIG CANNOLI

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

Where To Find It: Vivo Italian Kitchen, Universal CityWalk

What Makes It Epic: The Big Cannoli is an Italian dessert of epic proportions — over a foot long cannoli shell filled with two pounds of cannoli cream! It’s topped with white and dark chocolate shavings and is best when shared with friends as it easily serves four or more.

JUMBO PINEAPPLE DOUGHNUT

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

Where To Find It: Islands Dining Room, Loews Royal Pacific Resort

What Makes It Epic: Universal Orlando is known for giant donuts. This single homemade donut is easily large enough to feed four people and is filled with pineapple cream and coconut ice cream.

7-LAYER KITCHEN SINK CAKE

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

Where To Find It: The Kitchen, Hard Rock Hotel

What Makes It Epic: Imagine all of your favorite desserts layered on top of one another, and that’s what you get with the Kitchen Sink Cake. Starting with chocolate walnut brownie on the bottom, then layered with peanut butter, chocolate chip cookie, pecan pie, New York cheesecake, chocolate mousse cake, and topped with vanilla cake. Then, the whole thing is covered in chocolate icing, chocolate cake crumbles, and chocolate chips. You’ll be challenged to fit all seven layers of dessert on one fork!

BUTTERBEER ICE-CREAM

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

Where To Find It: Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour, Universal Studios Florida

What Makes It Epic: It tastes like the ultimate combination of vanilla and butterscotch swirled to perfection. Treat yourself to a fun spin on this beloved flavor with Butterbeer ice-cream in Diagon Alley.

RED VELVET MILKSHAKE

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

Where To Find It: The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen, Universal CityWalk

What Makes It Epic: Have your cake and sip it too! This vanilla ice cream and raspberry milkshake has not one, but two red velvet cupcakes. One whole cupcake is blended inside like a sweet hidden surprise while the other proudly sits on top, making this one of the most Instagram-worthy milkshakes you’ll ever see.

What are you waiting for? Head to Universal Orlando Resort to try one of these amazing desserts.

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

Top Five Things to Do During the Holidays at Disney World

Believe it or not… the Walt Disney World Resort truly does become more magical during the holiday season. With special events throughout the parks, beautiful decorations throughout the parks and resorts, it is one of the best time of year to visit. 

Here are the top five things to do during the holidays at Disney World: 

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party: This separate ticket event is held on select nights in November and December from 7 pm to 12 am at Magic Kingdom Park. Although there is an added cost for this experience, you get to enjoy unlimited hot cocoa, apple juice, cookies, and apple sliced throughout the evening; Once Upon a Christmastime Parade; a Frozen Holiday Wish; the Jungle Cruise transforms into the Jingle Cruise; Holiday Wishes fireworks spectacular; two dance parties; rare character meet and greets and so much more!

Flurry of Fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: The Hollywood Tower Hotel transforms with projections and even “snow” along Sunset Boulevard during Sunset Seasons Greetings where guests can enjoy four stories about some of our favorite Disney characters. Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam is a fun nighttime show projected onto the Chinese Theater. Wayne and Lanny from ABC’s Prep & Landing need our help to save Santa Claus and bring him back to the North Pole in time for Christmas Day!

Epcot International Festival of the Holidays: The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays includes holiday kitchens featuring seasonal recipes, Chip & Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree scavenger hunt around the World Showcase, Candlelight Processional, and more. Candlelight Processional is always a guest favorite, featuring a celebrity narrator reading the Christmas story and accompanied by a fifty piece orchestra and full choir. Even with three readings nightly, this event fills quickly so we do strongly recommend the Candlelight Processional dining packages to reserve your spot.

Christmas Tree Trail at Disney Springs: 2016 was the first year that Disney created the Christmas Tree Trail at Disney Springs and it has grown each year since! With twenty-five trees planned for 2018, all inspired by our favorite Disney movies and characters, this is a great place for photo opportunities or even a little inspiration for your Disney decorated trees at home.

Resort Decorations: All of the Walt Disney World Resort hotels decorate for the holiday season with Christmas trees, wreaths, and more. However, some have over the top decorations that you just have to see for yourself! The most incredible is probably the life size gingerbread house at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Although you won’t want to miss the life size gingerbread carousel at Disney’s Beach Club Resort or the gingerbread castle at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, either. There are even sleigh rides through Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground!

What are your favorite things to do during the holidays at Disney World? 

Call Siera today to book your Disney World vacation at 734-771-1290 or email her at siera@destinationsinflorida.com anytime with questions or a free, no obligation quote! 

Seven Reasons to Plan a Holiday Vacation at a Disneyland Resort Hotel

From the Disney Parks Blog:

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Seven Reasons to Plan a Holiday Vacation at a Disneyland Resort Hotel

There’s nothing quite like the spending the holidays in the merriment and magic of Disneyland Resort – and making the most of it by staying in one of three on-property hotels. Here are seven sparkling ways you can make memories with your family and friends this holiday season, now through January 6, 2019:

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Christmas Trees, Décor and More: The Craftsman-inspired décor at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa extends to the holiday decorations, from natural garlands to the towering Christmas tree lit with “arts and crafts” lanterns. The midcentury Disneyland Hotel receives a retro-holiday look with silver trees and bright colors. The nautical theming at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel features blue, green and silver holiday décor—along with shells and starfish garland—to create a seaside holiday setting.

“Grand” Gingerbread House and Holiday Treats: A highlight at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is the giant gingerbread replica of the hotel, right in the lobby. Standing 7 feet tall and 12 feet wide, the structure is created from more than 600 pounds of gingerbread, 600 pounds of powdered sugar, 250 pounds of fondant, 1 pound of “pixie dust” glitter and features 25 hidden Mickeys! Nearby, you may purchase sweet treats such as Mickey snowflake cookies from the lobby’s holiday cart.

Santa Claus and Carolers: This year, Santa will visit each hotel from November 22 through December 24. Hotel guests are encouraged to meet, greet and take a seat with St. Nick! Also delightful are the joyful sounds of vocal performers and holiday carolers strolling throughout the holiday season at each resort hotel.*

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Extra Magic Hour: With easy, convenient access to both parks, guests staying at the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort will make the most of their visit with Extra Magic Hour admission with their valid theme park ticket. Extra Magic Hour offers admission to a designated theme park one hour earlier than the general public, and is only available for guests who stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel. **

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Christmas Trees Delivered In Room: Parents, you can enlist Santa’s secret helpers to bring the spirit of the season right to your hotel room, surprising the kids with a 4-foot, pre-lit Christmas tree, holiday décor and gift baskets with candy canes, gingerbread-flavored popcorn and frosted pretzels. Afterward, the family’s tree—including all the ornaments—can be shipped home.***

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Holiday Shopping: Gift shops at each hotel offer unique Disney treasures. Additional shopping is just steps from the hotels at the Downtown Disney District, a destination of its own with dining, entertainment and retail options. A must-visit site for Disney fans is the newly reimagined, 40,000 square-foot World of Disney. This store was redesigned to make shopping even easier and more entertaining with touches of pixie dust in the displays and merchandise collections. Other favorite boutiques are the Disney Home store and The Disney Dress Shop, which opened in 2018. Other shopping destinations include Sephora, PANDORA Jewelry and Curl Surf.

Vacation Values: It’s a season of savings with up to 25 percent off select rooms at Hotels of the Disneyland Resort for select Sunday-Thursday nights through December 20, 2018. Guests can save up to 20 percent on standard rooms and 25 percent on premium rooms at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa; up to 15 percent on standard rooms and 20 percent on premium rooms at Disneyland Hotel, and up to 10 percent on premium rooms at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel. Book through December 16, 2018. To find out more, please visit disneylandresort.com.

The holiday festivities at the Disneyland Resort take place Nov. 9, 2018 – Jan. 6, 2019. When is your holiday vacation at a Disneyland Resort Hotel?

*Check Entertainment Guide for performance times.

** Extra Magic Hour valid for registered Disneyland® Resort Hotel Guests for admission to the designated theme park before the park opens to the general public. Check Disneyland.com for schedule of when each park offers Extra Magic Hour. Each registered hotel Guest (ages 3 and older) must have a valid theme park ticket and active hotel room key card. Applicable theme park, days and times of operation and attractions and services availability may vary and are subject to change without notice. Subject to capacity, cancellation and other restrictions.

***Additional costs apply.

Savings based on the non-discounted price for the same room at the same hotel for most Sunday through Thursday nights through 12/20/18. Book through 12/6/18; travel must be completed by 12/21/18. Premium room types included in offer are Premium, Deluxe and Woods/Garden/Courtyard rooms; select Concierge rooms; and only Paradise, Artisan, Junior and Regal suites. Not valid on previously booked rooms. Advance reservations required. Subject to availability as the number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Excludes applicable fees and taxes. Limit two (2) rooms per reservation, and occupancy restrictions apply per room. Not valid in combination with any other hotel discounts or offers. Subject to restrictions and change without notice. Separate Theme Park admission required to enjoy the Parks.

Top 5 Holiday Experiences at Disney World to Book for your Vacation

From the Disney Parks Blog:

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

From glittering holiday decor to special entertainment to tasty seasonal treats, spending the holiday season at Walt Disney World Resort can’t be beat.

Here are five holiday experiences at Disney World you can book right now that can help you make the most of your holiday visit:

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom Park – Experience the holiday party of a lifetime at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Taking place on select nights in November and December, this guest-favorite annual holiday event includes a special “Once Upon a Christmastime Parade,” “Holiday Wishes” fireworks, snow on Main Street, U.S.A., and much more. Pick up tickets now before they’re gone. You can also plus up your party experience with special dining options that are only available on party nights, including the Holiday Wishes Fireworks Holiday Dessert Party at Tomorrowland Terrace and Holiday Wishes Fireworks Holiday Dessert Party with Plaza Garden Viewing.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Tony’s Most Merriest Town Square Party – Reservations just opened for this brand-new F&B offering at Magic Kingdom Park. This experience begins at 9:30 p.m. on Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party nights, and includes a tasty hors d’oeuvres and a dessert buffet at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant. At 11 p.m., you’ll have access to a special reserved viewing area for the truly enchanting “Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade” as it makes its way down Main Street, U.S.A. Tony’s Most Merriest Town Square Party continues until 12:30 a.m., even longer than Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Both a Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party ticket and reservations for Tony’s Most Merriest Town Square Party are required to attend. More details and bookings here.

Presented in the America Gardens Theatre at Epcot, Candlelight Processional is one of the most beloved holiday traditions at Walt Disney World Resort. Featuring a joyous retelling of the Christmas story by a celebrity narrator, accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and a glorious mass choir, this festive performance takes place annually in November and December. Show times are at 5, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m. Epcot is one of four theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kent Phillips, photographer)

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

“The Candlelight Processional” Dining Packages at Epcot – “The Candlelight Processional” is a holiday tradition for many Disney guests and families. See the show with ease thanks to a “Candlelight Processional” dining package, which gives you breakfast, lunch or dinner at a tasty Epcot restaurant plus priority seating for the show. Each meal includes an appetizer, entrée and dessert or one full buffet or family-style dining (where applicable), along with a non-alcoholic beverage. Check out this year’s list of narrators – which includes newcomers Auli’i Cravalho and Alfonso Ribeiro, as well as returning favorites Neil Patrick Harris and Gary Sinise – here.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Dessert Party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Not only does this delicious dessert party dish up mouth-watering sweets, but dessert party reservations give you priority viewing for not one, but two of Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ nighttime shows – “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” and “Disney Movie Magic,” as well as a greeting with a Disney character! Sneak a peek at the delicious menu and make your reservations here.

New Year’s Eve Celebration Reservations – Three unforgettable New Year’s Eve experiences – Pixar Party: A New Year’s Eve CelebrationDisney Countdown to Midnight: A New Year’s Eve Celebration, and Disney Ink & Paint Club – are already on sale. Don’t miss out!

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

And, last but not least … no trip to Walt Disney World Resort during the holiday season would be complete without picking up an adorable holiday Minnie Snowflake Ears Headband or Santa Mickey Mouse Ear Hat. Several new styles were just released this fall. Grab them now at ShopDisneyParks.com before they’re gone!

Top 8 Reasons Why You Need to Ride Hogwarts Express Both Directions

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

Straight from the pages and silver screen, Universal Orlando Resort is the only place where you can actually ride the famous Hogwarts Express. From The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade to Diagon Alley and back again, traveling between Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida aboard Hogwarts Express is a must-see attraction unto itself.

There are hundreds of reasons to choose the Hogwarts Express as your mode of transportation, but we are sharing with you the top eight reasons today:

1. First and foremost, the aesthetics of the stations and attraction are true to the movies and books, so you’ll feel like you’ve actually been dropped into the story.

2. Each station offers unique opportunities for epic photos to share with your friends and family.

3. Not to mention, the architecture is totally stunning.

4. And remember, the Hogwarts Express is the best way to stay immersed in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter when traveling between the two lands.

5. At King’s Cross Station, you’ll find yourself at Platform 9 ¾. You can even walk through the iconic wall; but I’m leaving that bit out because it’s so much better when you experience it for yourself!

6. When traveling from London to Hogsmeade, be sure to look out for a number of cameos from your favorite characters, like this fly-by of Hagrid and his magical motorcycle.

7. And from Hogsmeade to London the story and cameos are completely different, so look out for moments like this one with Fred and George *casually* plugging their Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes store in Diagon Alley.

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

8. Finally, riding the Hogwarts Express both ways allows you the opportunity to experience both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, which is a true one-of-a-kind experience that you can only get here.

Of course, there’s much more mind-blowing stuff to see and do on the Hogwarts Express. What’s your favorite part of riding!?

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

Thanks Universal Orlando Resort Blog!