21 Reasons You Need to Visit Walt Disney World in 2021

21 reasons to visit Disney World in 2021

Happy New Year! Walt Disney World Resort is ready to help you turn the page on 2020 right away and begin 2021 with magic. From new and classic attractions to culinary experiences to character interactions and more, here are 21 reasons to be excited about a visit to The Most Magical Place on Earth in 2021:

Photo: Disney

1. Explore the 2021 Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Arts: Beginning January 8 and lasting through February 22, you’re invited to an expansive collection of visual, performance and culinary arts throughout the park. 

Photo: Disney

2. Gaze Upon the Reimagined Entrance Fountain at EPCOT – The new water feature in front of Spaceship Earth hearkens back to the park’s origins and highlights a greener, more open and welcoming experience as you enter the park. The fountain is the most recent milestone in the historic transformation of EPCOT now underway. 

Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse search for their perfect picnic spot in Runnamuck Park as part of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, the new family-friendly attraction opening March 4, 2020, in Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The first ride-through attraction in Disney history featuring Mickey and Minnie brings guests into the vibrant world of “Mickey Mouse” cartoon shorts. (Kent Phillips, photographer)

3. Step Inside the Cartoon World of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Go through the movie screen as Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Engineer Goofy and Pluto take you on a trip through Runnamuck Park … where anything can happen!

Guests come face to face with First Order Supreme Leader Kylo Ren as they stumble into the bridge of a Star Destroyer in Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, the groundbreaking new attraction opening Dec. 5, 2019, inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida and Jan. 17, 2020, at Disneyland Park in California. (Steven Diaz, photographer)

4. Embark on a Star Wars Adventure in a Galaxy Far, Far Away – Disney’s Hollywood Studios is also home to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the immersive, award-winning land featuring two thrilling attractions: Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run.

Cinderella Castle, the icon of Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., recently completed a royal makeover. The castle’s new color scheme features bold, shimmering and regal enhancements befitting The Most Magical Place on Earth. Special elements include a sapphire dusting on the blue rooftops and gold trim that makes the spires sparkle in the sun. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

5. Check Out Cinderella Castle’s Royal Makeover – The treasured icon at the heart of Magic Kingdom Park now features bold, shimmering and regal enhancements befitting its royal status, making for a great photo with family and friends. 

6. Experience Classic Attractions at Magic Kingdom Park – Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, The Haunted Mansion, “it’s a small world,” Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain … the new year is a great time for you to reconnect with these classics loved by millions the world over. 

Photo: Disney

7. Watch for New Residents on the Harambe Wildlife Reserve at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park – Nigerian dwarf goats now play like kids at the warden’s outpost near the end of Kilimanjaro Safaris. 

Photo: Disney

8. Bask in the Cuteness of Baby Animals – In addition to the Nigerian dwarf goats, you may catch a glimpse of some of the animals born in 2020 at Walt Disney World while at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Aboard Kilimanjaro Safaris, for example, you may spot young Masai giraffe now out on the savanna.

Photo: Disney

9. Celebrate the Magic of Nature in Pandora – The World of Avatar – At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, travel to the Valley of Mo’ara to hike among the floating mountains of Pandora and experience two awe-inspiring attractions: Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey. 

Mickey Mouse will star in the “Mickey and Friends Cavalcade” when Magic Kingdom Park reopens July 11, 2020, at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. With traditional parades on temporary hiatus to support physical distancing during the park’s phased reopening, Disney characters will pop up in new and different ways throughout the day. (Kent Phillips, photographer)

10. Find Disney Characters in New Places – From cavalcades to caravans to flotillas and even special “pop-up” appearances, you can discover favorite friends at all four theme parks and the occasional special surprise at Disney Resort hotels. 

11. Hop from Park to Park – As of January 1, 2021, guests who purchase a ticket or annual pass with Park Hopper benefits can once again visit more than one park per day (with some new modifications).  

Photo: Disney

12. Indulge in Sweet New Treats at Disney Springs – When visiting the shopping, dining and entertainment district of Walt Disney World, you have plenty of new options to satisfy your sweet tooth, including newly opened Gideon’s Bakehouse and the forthcoming M&M’S store and Everglazed Donuts & Cold Brew. 

13. 50th Anniversary Celebration – Although Disney hasn’t released any specific details as to what we can expect for this very special occasion, the Walt Disney World Resort will celebrate its 50th anniversary on October 1, 2021.

Photo: Disney

14. Return to Favorite Disney Restaurants – As part of the phased reopening of Walt Disney World, restaurants continue to return to operation across The Most Magical Place on Earth. Recent reopenings include The Crystal Palace inside Magic Kingdom and the character breakfast at Chef Mickey’s inside Disney’s Contemporary Resort. 

15. Make Some Time to Relax Outdoors – Central Florida weather is often gorgeous in the early months of the year, and Walt Disney World offers special ways to enjoy some outdoor recreation, including golf and miniature golf, fishing expeditions, horseback riding and more.

Photo: Disney

16. Buzz Through the Taste of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival, Blooming in March – Beginning March 3, you’ll find fresh cuisine, creative gardens and unforgettable topiaries as part of this annual festival. 

Photo: Disney

17. Soak Up the Sun at Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park – After remaining closed for all of 2020 due to the pandemic, this wintry-themed water park is planning to reopen in March and celebrate its 25th season in splashy style. 

Photo: Disney

18. Look for Some Fresh Pixie Dust at the Entrances to Walt Disney World – Make some new memories as you pass these iconic gateways to The Most Magical Place on Earth, which are receiving a refreshed color palette complementing the recent Cinderella Castle makeover. 

Photo: Disney

19. Add Extra Theme Park Magic to Vacations – Available to book beginning Jan. 5, 2021, guests buying non-discounted four-night/three-day room and ticket packages at select Disney Resort hotels for arrivals most nights Jan. 8, 2021, through Sept. 25, 2021, will receive an additional two days of theme park tickets. 

Photo: Disney

20. Florida Residents Can Take Advantage of a Special Ticket Offer – Beginning Jan. 4, 2021, the four-day Florida Resident Discover Disney Ticket invites Floridians to visit any of the four Disney parks through June 18, 2021 (subject to blockout dates), for $199 (plus tax).  

Photo: Disney

21. Get Excited for Even More Magic Later this Year – Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, the new family-friendly attraction coming to the France pavilion in EPCOT, will debut in 2021. And the new Cirque du Soleil show “Drawn to Life,” coming to Disney Springs, will be a collaboration between Cirque du Soleil, Walt Disney Animation Studios and Walt Disney Imagineering.

Be sure to follow @spreadingmagic on social media for more details about these experiences and other excitement happening around Walt Disney World in the future!

As a reminder, Walt Disney World continues to operate with enhanced health and safety policies so everyone can enjoy the magic responsibly. To manage attendance, guests are required to have valid theme park admission and make a park reservation for each day of their visit through the Disney Park Pass system. Please visit Disneyworld.com/Updates for more information.

Are you planning to visit Walt Disney World in 2021?

Thanks Disney Parks Blog!

Enjoy the 2021 Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Arts from January 8 – February 22

Photo: Disney

Ready for a fresh start in 2021? Then grab a paintbrush and indulge your artistic side (and your palate … and maybe your palette) with an inspiring visit to the 2021 Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Arts, running Jan. 8 – Feb. 22, 2021, at Walt Disney World Resort.

This global celebration mixes visual, culinary and performing arts from around the world into an entertaining blend that’s fun for the entire family. More than 100 Disney and visiting artists will display their work, and you can show off your own talents by participating in interactive experiences such as a larger-than-life paint-by-number mural or learning to draw some of your favorite Disney characters. You can also step into famous works of art, thanks to artful photo ops.

You’ll also discover dishes to feast on with delicious Disney twists and art-inspired menus. And, of course, no visit is complete without finding the perfect piece of artwork or Festival merchandise to bring home.

New for the 2021 Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Arts

Voices of Liberty will take centerstage at America Gardens Theatre with a brand-new showcase – The Disney Songbook. From “When You Wish Upon a Star” to “Let It Go,” the ensemble will perform Disney songs and celebrate the artistry of Disney composers and lyricists.

Photo: Disney

Over at World Showplace, you can catch live performances by “Art Defying Gravity,” a spectacle of thrilling strength acts, and “Visual Art in Performance,” a high-energy, onstage visual artist who paints favorite Disney characters before your eyes in just a matter of minutes.

Photo: Disney

Food Studios located around World Showcase are where you can view – and eat – great works of art. Vibrante & Vívido Food Studio, a new location between France and Morocco, will feature a mouthwatering (and photo-ready) chilled seafood cocktail with octopus, scallops, shrimp, black garlic aïoli, tomato coconut sauce and serrano lime oil. Or, indulge on Blue Corn Pupusa stuffed with cheese and topped with shredded pork, guajillo and árbol chile sauce, cabbage slaw and aji amarillo crema.

Photo: Disney

Other ways you can enjoy the 2021 Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Arts:

  • Take part in the Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine, where you’ll use the Festival Passport as a guide to purchase five vibrant food items and receive a complimentary, tasty technicolor treat.
  • The popular Figment’s Brush with the Masters returns this year, as well, inviting you to help Figment learn about art on a scavenger hunt around World Showcase. You will be able to purchase a map and stickers for the family-friendly hunt at a variety of merchandise locations. 

The 2021 Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Arts will run for 46 days and be available with valid park admission and a park reservation for the same date.

Thanks Disney Parks Blog!

5 Reasons to Stay at Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites

Image: Universal Orlando Resort

One of the consistent challenges of vacation planning for large families is finding a resort that can — both comfortably and affordably — accommodate a family of six in one room, while also offering unique theme park benefits. Those options have been somewhat limited and few and far between. Until now. We are sharing five reasons to stay at Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites.

Image: Universal Orlando Resort

This challenge is no more for families today with our newest hotel Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites. This hotel (and its sister property, Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites) is the perfect value option for families of all sizes and comes packed with benefits for everyone. Having already stayed at Surfside Inn and Suites, I can personally tell you the Endless Summer Resort product exceeded all my family’s expectations. The quality of the food, rooms, service, and amenities were impressive and made our staycation so enjoyable.

Here’s everything you need to know about Dockside Inn and Suites:

Spacious Rooms

Image: Universal Orlando Resort

Dockside Inn and Suites has two towers painted with colors reminiscent of a sunset. These towers will be equipped with over 2,000 rooms, with over half of those rooms being spacious 2-Bedroom Suites that can accommodate up to six people, meaning families on a budget can pay for one suite for the whole family.

Let’s deep-dive into those suites a bit more. The 2-Bedroom Suite is honestly a game-changer; they mean families like the one I grew up in don’t have to buy multiple rooms to accomodate the whole crew. 

There’s privacy between the bedrooms, a sizable kitchenette area with a mini-fridge, microwave, and coffee maker, a perfect picnic table for meals and hanging out, and a bathroom with separate bath and vanity areas so multiple people can get ready at once. These suites also feature three queen-sized beds, two TVs, and free WiFi. Sign me up for all of this.

The Price is Right

While the size is pretty incredible, here comes one of the best parts about Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites — the price. During our value season, rates begin as low as $79 per night for Standard Rooms and $120 per night for the 2-Bedroom suites, based on a four-night stay. My question for you is: how can you beat that? And I haven’t even mentioned…

The Theme Park Benefits

By staying at Dockside Inn and Suites, you have access to so many great perks throughout Universal Orlando…Early Park Admission (you’ll feel like you have the park practically to yourself!); complimentary transportation (five minute ride from my hotel to everything the Universal Orlando theme parks have to offer? I’m in!); and a room key that does so much more than open doors (purchases throughout the destination, complimentary club-to-club access in CityWalk, and a future keepsake from your vacation). Check out all the details here.

All-American Dining

Image: Universal Orlando Resort

When I am on a vacation at a theme park resort, convenience during my hotel stay is a big factor for my family and me. In order to maximize our time at the parks, we need a hotel that has food and drink options for the entire family at a reasonable price. Dockside Inn and Suites strikes the perfect balance for this need. 

Pier 8 Market is the casual dining food court and market that is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Pier 8 Market menu is super affordable, with most dishes priced under $12 (see what I mean by “reasonable price”?)! The hotel has an amazing lobby bar, the Sunset Lounge, that serves specialty cocktails and has its own craft beer, and a large pool bar, the Oasis Beach Bar.

Image: Universal Orlando Resort

The Vibes – Kick Back and Relax

Image: Universal Orlando Resort
  • TWO Pools (Pool Number Two Coming in 2021!)
  • Universal Studios Store
  • Universal Orlando Vacation Planning Center
  • Fitness Center
  • Car Rental Desk
  • Game Room (Coming in 2021)
  • Self-service guest laundry

This hotel was designed by the same creative minds that brought you everything you love about our theme parks, giving you an immersive experience only available at our destination. It’s exactly what my large family was looking for when I was growing up and now it’s here!

So, when will you be checking in at Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites? Let us know in the comments.

Thanks Universal Orlando Resort Blog!

16 Ways to Celebrate a Birthday at Disney World

There’s always something to celebrate at Disney World! From birthdays to anniversaries or first visits, we love celebrating at Disney World! If you have the opportunity to celebrate a birthday at Disney World, there are some ways that you can make it extra special and magical! Here are sixteen different ways that you can celebrate a birthday at Disney World.

Birthday at Disney World

Before You Go

Note Your Birthday Celebration on All Reservations: If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, be sure to note your birthday celebration. You should receive a call from a special Disney friend wishing you a “Happy Birthday!” If you are booking any dining reservations at a Disney restaurant, you can note your birthday celebration at the time of booking so the restaurant can celebrate with you, as well.

Book a Special Meal: Plan a special meal just for the birthday boy or girl. If it is a child (or someone young at heart), consider a character dining experience. You can find our list of the best character meals here. If it is just adults, try a signature dining experience. Or, if you’re looking for dinner and a show, try Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue or Spirit of Aloha.

Order an In-Room Gift or Celebration: Disney Floral and Gifts has a wide variety of in-room gifts and decorations available for purchase. Balloons start at just $9.99 while in-room celebrations begin at $275. Choose from a pre-made gift basket or build your own!

Book a Dessert Party: All four Walt Disney World Resort theme parks offer a dessert party for their nighttime spectaculars. You’ll get to enjoy the best views of Happily Ever After, Epcot Forever, Fantasmic, or Rivers of Light while sampling sweet treats and drinks. You can review all of the dessert parties here.

Book a Makeover at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or Character Couture: You can transform into your favorite Princess, Knight, or other Disney Character with one of these makeover experiences. The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique provides makeover for children ages 3-12 at three locations- Magic Kingdom Park, Disney Springs, and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. Character Couture is best for guests who are too old for the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, but can accommodate children, as well. Julie at Double Your WDW has a fabulous review of Character Couture, complete with photos.

Sail on a Fireworks Cruise: There are a few cruises available, each with a spectacular view and delicious desserts. Your kids will love the Pirates and Pals Fireworks Dessert Voyage departing from Disney’s Contemporary Resort. They’ll get to mingle with Captain Hook and Mr. Smee while they eat an array of desserts. Then, Peter Pan afterwards. Ferrytale Fireworks: A Sparkling Dessert Cruise is a great option for families and couples looking for a great view and dessert without characters. If you’re looking to really splurge, Disney has private fireworks cruises starting at $299 plus tax.

Go Behind the Scenes on a Tour: You can go behind the scenes and learn more about how the magic is made at Disney World with one of their tours. Behind the Seeds in the Land Pavilion at Epcot is one of the more affordable options at just $29 per person. Caring for Giants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is only $30 per person, but does have a minimum age requirement of 4 years. Disney’s Family Magic Tour at Magic Kingdom is fun for families with children of all ages.

Order a Birthday or Celebration Cake: Order a Mickey Mouse Celebration Cake for just $35 at participating restaurants. You can order in advance by calling (407) WDW-DINE or at the restaurant. You’ll be able to choose from chocolate or white chocolate flavors. You can also order a custom cake with your desired theme and decorations by calling (407) 827-2253 at least 72 hours in advance. Or, guests at least 10 years of age and older can try the cake decorating experience at Amorette’s Patisserie on Sunday through Thursday mornings at 9 am.

Make or Order a Birthday Shirt: You want everyone to know that you’re celebrating, right? In addition to your birthday button, you can either make or order a special birthday shirt. Some of our favorites are these Mickey birthday shirts, Minnie birthday shirts, best birthday ever shirts, birthday girl shirts, best birthday ever shirts, and best day ever shirts.

Birthday at Disney World

After You Arrive

Pick Up a Birthday Button: If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, you can pick up a complimentary birthday button from the front desk. If not, you can stop by guest services inside any of the theme parks to pick one up. This free button will let everyone know that you are celebrating! You never know what kind of special surprises or pixie dust you could receive.

Have Characters Sign a Birthday Card for Autographs: If you bring a birthday card, you can have the characters sign that for a fun and unique souvenir. You could even bring a few to have “themes” like one for Disney Princesses, one for classic characters, and more.

Take a Ride in an Amphicar: Have you ever ridden in an Amphicar? With less than 400 left in the world, there’s a good chance that you haven’t. But, you can ride in an Amphicar at The Boathouse at Disney Springs. During the 25-minute guided tour, you’ll learn about the landmarks around Disney Springs. The current cost is $125 per car and holds 3-4 guests.

Purchase Birthday Ears: Disney has a HUGE variety of both Mickey and Minnie ears available throughout the parks and resorts. Magic Kingdom and Disney Springs have some of the best selections. New birthday ears will be the perfect accessory for your celebration. You can purchase the Mickey Ears Birthday Hat or Minnie Ears Birthday Headband.

Pick a Pearl in the Japan Pavilion: There’s a unique experience in the Japan pavilion at Epcot. It is both a fun experience and inexpensive souvenir. You can choose an oyster to be opened which will contain at least one beautiful pearl. If you’re extra lucky, you might even find an oyster with two pearls! You can even order a Cinderella carriage necklace holder for your pearl before you go.

Look for Photo Opportunities: Pose for a photo with your celebration button throughout the parks. Ask Disney PhotoPass photographers for magic shots, as well. Plus, if you stop by the PhotoPass Studio at Disney Springs, you can take pictures with some birthday inspired props and backgrounds. If you have Memory Maker, this experience is included at no additional cost.

Explore the World Showcase: The cast members working in each pavilion around the World Showcase are actually from the country that you are visiting in the World Showcase. These cast members are happy to write “Happy Birthday” in their native language for you as a fun (and educational) souvenir. Order an Epcot passport for them to write your birthday message in.

Ready to book your vacation to celebrate a birthday at Disney World? Call Siera at (734) 771-1290 or email her at siera@destinationsinflorida.com today.

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The Ultimate Guide to Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort

From the Universal Orlando Resort Blog:

Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

Have you ever dreamed of going beyond the grounds of Hogwarts? Do you remember the excitement as you would read about the thrilling and wondrous adventures in the Forbidden Forest? Well, get ready for your dreams to come true at Universal Orlando Resort

Whether you’re a Harry Potter fan, roller coaster enthusiast, or are looking forward to the latest Universal Orlando Resort attraction, you need this guide to Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, located in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade in Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

THE QUEUE: 

For the first time ever, you will get to venture to the edge of the Forbidden Forest. Alan Gilmore, Art Director for the Harry Potter film series, joined Universal Orlando Resort in making this truly immersive and magical experience for all guests to enjoy. Here are some tips and things to keep an eye out for that the team included…

  • Make sure to enjoy the views as you walk in because you can spot Hogwarts castle, Hagrid’s hut, and a view of the ruins that you’ll soon enter.
  • When you enter the ruins, you’ll spot statues of rare magical creatures found in the wizarding world.
  • You’ll see some incredible drawings in this room that are definitely worth your attention.
  • In the ruins, you may encounter some familiar faces who will help prepare you for your journey. 
  • Once you reach the fireplace, you’ll may spot footprints belonging to a small fiery creature.
  • These ruins seem uninhibited, but act as a holding space for some of Hagrid’s belongings, such as a curious collection of eggs.
  • Keep an eye out for Hagrid. It seems he’s been up to something.
    • Notice scratch marks and burn marks on the walls?
    • Looks like Hagrid left teddy bears and blankets?
    • Did you spot the page in The Monster Book of Monsters?
Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

HAGRID 

You’ll meet Hagrid face-to-face in Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, as he takes you through the Forbidden Forest for a Care of Magical Creatures class. As you climb aboard a magical motorbike, you’ll experience how it feels to be a beloved student of Hagrid. The team at Universal Orlando left no detail untouched when it comes to this animatronic version of the beloved half-giant…

  • Hagrid stands at 7 feet, 6 inches tall.
  • His movie-real costume weighs about 50 lbs.
  • If you look at Hagrid’s hands, you’ll find dragon-skin gloves.
  • Does Hagrid look real? That’s because he’s Universal Orlando’s first human-like animated figure
    • Meticulous work went into placing individual hair strands – including eyebrows and lashes.
    • Incredible attention to detail was taken to recreate Hagrid’s likeness from the films, including a meticulously hand-sculpted face, digital scans of Hagrid actor Robbie Coltrane’s teeth, and careful placement of individual hair strands -including eyebrows and lashes. 
    • See more Hagrid facts here.
Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

MAGICAL CREATURES YOU’LL ENCOUNTER

Get ready to encounter some of the Wizarding World’s magical creatures. As we all know,  Hagrid, Hogwarts gamekeeper and Care of Magical Creatures professor, has a soft spot for even the most ‘seriously misunderstood’ creatures. You’ll encounter lots of these creatures along your journey through the Forbidden Forest…

  • Fluffy, Hagrid’s Three-Headed Dog
    • In this new adventure, Fluffy weighs 8,000 Ibs, which is roughly as big as two standard Muggle cars.
  • Blast-Ended Skrewts
    • Described as a cross between scorpions and elongated crabs, Skrewts aren’t afraid to attack other Skrewts they encounter. They have incredibly strong armor that can’t be penetrated by spells – proving to be a challenge for Hagrid since they hatched.
      • FUN FACT: Manticores and Fire Crabs were the magical creatures Hagrid used to create Blast-Ended Skrewts. 
  • Magorian, the Centaur 
    • A Centaur is a magical creature with a human head, torso and arms, joined to a horse’s body. They are, however, their own species and should be treated with great respect.
  • Devil’s Snare
    • This perilous plant from the wizarding world has been known to strangle people, who touch it, with its dexterous vines. Devil’s Snare flourishes in damp, dark environments and it has a strong dislike of light and fire.
      • Remember, “Devil’s Snare, Devil’s Snare is deadly fun, but will sulk in the sun.”
Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog
  • Cornish Pixies
    • Cornish pixies are electric blue tricksters who love to create mischief – often at the expense of others. They’re about 13 inches tall and you’ll find more than a dozen pixies throughout this adventure. 
  • Fire Crab 
    • Make sure you keep an eye out at the end of a tunnel in Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure as you’ll get a glimpse of a heavily jeweled shell of a Fire Crab.
  • Manticore
    • You may see a drawing of this dangerous creature that has an animal head, a lion’s body, and scorpion’s tail.
  • Gnomes 
    • They’re hard to spot, but you may hear these mischievous garden creatures as you’re headed toward the Forbidden Forest.
  • Salamanders 
    • Traces of these fire-dwelling creatures can be found around heated areas of this attraction.
Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog

THE COASTER

For the first time, students will get to fly to the edge of the Forbidden Forest. Not only is this an incredibly immersive ride but this roller coaster is literally a record-breaker. See for yourself what makes Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure a record-breaking roller coaster…

  • Longest roller coaster in Florida at 5,053 feet long 
  • Coaster with the most launches in the world, with 7 launches
  • Enjoy a true free fall vertical drop at nearly 17 feet
Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure

Other roller coaster facts: 

  • Enjoy two unique ride experiences as you can ride Hagrid’s motorbike or the adjacent sidecar
  • This attraction reaches a maximum height of 65-feet 
  • There is a 73-degree spike that goes backward in one-movement 
  • This attraction is 3 minutes of non-stop ride time 
  • There are over 1,200 real trees that were used to recreate this enchanted forest.

Are you excited to experience your own journey to the Forbidden Forrest after reading our guide to Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure? Book your Universal Orlando Resort vacation, choose a seat on the motorbike or in the sidecar, and experience all this for yourself! 

2020 Holiday Treats at Magic Kingdom Park at Disney World

Image: Disney

We are so excited for all of the delicious holiday treats popping up at Disney World! We’ve recently shared a sneak peek of the holiday treats at Disney Springs and the menus for the holiday kitchens at the Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays. Today, we are sharing all the details on the 2020 Holiday Treats at Magic Kingdom Park!  

The Magic Kingdom Park chefs have created new festive tastes this holiday season … and brought back some fan favorites! From delicious cupcakes to reveal a red velvet hidden Mickey and yummy gingerbread churros with apple pie filling to delightful almond macaron Christmas trees, this holiday season at Magic Kingdom Park has a wonderful array of tasty treats! Of course, Orange Bird is back to celebrate the holidays with his own adorable sweet – An Orange Bird Christmas. 

All these delicious 2020 holiday treats at Magic Kingdom are available through December 31. 

Photo: Disney

Main Street Bakery 

  • Holiday Mickey Cinnamon Roll – Mickey-shaped cinnamon roll drizzled with red and green icing  
  • Twice Upon a Cupcake – A confetti Christmas tree tops a vanilla cupcake with a red velvet hidden Mickey (new) 
Photo: Disney

Sunshine Tree Terrace  

  • An Orange Bird Christmas – Orange-scented white chocolate mousse filled with orange curd
Photo: Disney

Aloha Isle 

  • Pistachio Chai Tea Float – Pistachio soft–serve, spiced chai tea, and a red velvet cake pop ornament (new) 
Photo: Disney

Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Café 

  • Let It Snow Taco – Sugar cookie “taco shell” filled with salted caramel and spiced chocolate mousse (new) 
  • Christmas Churros – Mini churros topped with red and green sugar  
Photo: Disney

Sleepy Hollow 

  • Fa La La La Funnel Cake – Powdered sugar funnel cake, strawberry topping, whipped cream, and holiday sprinkles (new) 

Gaston’s Tavern 

  • Belle’s Enchanted Christmas Tree – Almond macarons with cranberry orange filling stacked to create a Christmas tree (new) 

Pinocchio Village Haus 

  • Yule Tide Wishes – Chocolate cake filled with chocolate mousse, covered with chocolate ganache 

Storybook Treats 

  • Minnie’s Merry Cherry Sundae – Cherry soft–serve, hot fudge, whipped cream, holiday sprinkles, and a Minnie bow (new) 
Photo: Disney

Westward Ho 

  • Chip and Dale Christmas Churros – Gingerbread churros topped with apple pie filling and chocolate chips (new) 
Photo: Disney

Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies 

  • Just a Dream Away – Salted caramel milkshake with silver sugar churro (new) 

Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café 

  • Spice Up Your Holiday – Spicy chicken sandwich with slaw, pickles, and Sriracha aïoli with a Santa Mickey-branded brioche bun (new) 
Photo: Disney

Main Street Cart  

  • Sugar and Spice Churros – Christmas cookie churros with icing and holiday sprinkles served with a side of eggnog (new) 

Citrus Cart (located at the Castle Hub) 

  • Churro Worth Melting For – Cinnamon churros topped with marshmallow fluff and blue sugar (new) 
Photo: Disney

Popcorn Carts (located throughout the park) 

  • White Christmas Tree Popcorn Bucket(new) 

Various QuickService Locations 

  • Sven Sipper Cup 

Which of these 2020 holiday treats at Magic Kingdom are you most excited to try during your next Disney World vacation?

Thanks Disney Parks Blog!

10 Reasons to Celebrate the Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort

10 Reasons to Celebrate the Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort

The holidays are an extra special time to visit the theme parks. One of my favorite things to do this time of year is visit the theme parks. You may ask, what happens at Universal Orlando during the holidays? You can enjoy gorgeous weather, roller coasters, incredibly fun holiday festivities and so much more during holidays at Universal Orlando Resort. Although things do look a bit different this year than in past years (as expected), you can still get in the spirit and celebrate the holidays at Universal Orlando Resort.

Celebrate Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort and @timsalathiel

When Christmas time comes to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the land embraces the holiday season with spellbinding decorations, holiday entertainment, and the can’t-miss hot Butterbeer.

  • Twinkling lights and enchanting strands of garland and wreaths adorn the eaves and shop windows throughout Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. Make sure to take a close look as each shop’s decorations are uniquely themed (even Knockturn Alley gets festive with a wreath).
  • You can’t celebrate properly without tuning in to hear Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees perform their holiday hits like “My Baby Gave Me a Hippogriff for Christmas” (my personal favorite) in Diagon Alley. Over in Hogsmeade, the Hogwarts Frog Choir is taking the stage with their classic carols like “Christmas at Hogwarts”.
  • Take home a piece of the wizarding world with marvelous merchandise like Hogwarts house ornaments, stockings, and sweaters.

Hot Butterbeer: This seasonal drink has the same creamy flavor reminiscent of shortbread and butterscotch you know and love. It’s perfect for warming you up when the weather gets chilly.

See the New Universal’s Holiday Experience Featuring Macy’s Balloons

Although Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s won’t be making its way through the streets of Universal Studios Florida this year, you can see the balloons and floats up close like never before in this new walkthrough experience. See the larger-than-life Macy’s balloons and floats depicting holiday moments inspired by favorite films like Illumination’s Despicable Me, and DreamWorks’ Shrek and Madagascar. And say goodbye to waiting in long lines at the mall — Santa Claus is coming to Universal Studios. Dress in your holiday best and come get a (socially distanced) photo with Santa during this holiday experience.

Universal’s Holiday Tour: Get front of the line access and walking tour to the balloon experience with this add-on experience. You also get a private meet and greet with the Grinch while enjoying a hot cocoa bar, an exclusive viewing of The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle, and a tour of the Tribute Store. 

Meet Your Favorite Characters

After meeting the holly, jolly man in the red suit, head over to Universal’s Islands of Adventure to meet the mean, green one himself, the Grinch. You can find him and the Whos spreading holiday cheer — or grumpiness in the Grinch’s case — throughout Seuss Landing.

You can also join other holiday characters for some dancing, singing, and photos in the streets of Universal Studios. Join in on the merry and mayhem with characters like the Minions and other beloved characters from Illumination’s Despicable Me, and DreamWorks favorites like the family of Shrek and King Julien and crew from Madagascar.

Don’t worry, Universal’s other famous characters aren’t taking off for the holidays. You can still meet the towering Transformers robots in Universal Studios and encounter Jurassic World’s Blue at Raptor Encounter in Islands of Adventure.

Enjoy Holiday Decor and Festivities at Universal’s Hotels

Make your holiday vacay at Universal Orlando complete with a stay at one of the resort hotels (don’t worry, you can reassure the kiddos that Santa can still find you). Besides being a short walk, Water Taxi, or shuttle ride to the theme parks, the hotels get in on the holiday festivities, too.

  • Do the hotels decorate? You betcha. Each hotel has a uniquely themed tree in the lobby and hundreds of lights, garland, and wreaths throughout. Just walking in to check in at the front desk will immediately put you in good spirits with the warm ambiance and holiday tunes filling your ears.
  • Exclusive to the hotels are the holiday feasts they host in their restaurants. Whether you’re visiting for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s, there are specialty breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals that you can indulge in.
  • Nothing screams winter snuggles like cuddling up in front of a fire. The hotels have fire pits they light nightly, which is the perfect way to wind down after a day in the parks.
  • OK, so pools aren’t exactly a “holiday” activity, however, in Florida they might as well be. The fact you can lounge by the hotel pool in the middle of winter with an umbrella drink is the best gift you could give in my opinion.

Come Do Your Holiday Shopping

Another great perk about coming to celebrate at Universal? You can do your shopping at the same time, too. We’ve got a ton of unique themed gift shops throughout our entire resort destination. You can find popular finds, including some of my favorites like a classic Jurassic Park T-shirt, an interactive wand to cast spells in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and basically any piece of merch with the Grinch’s face on it.

And if you really want to amp the shopping up 10 levels on the festive scale, then you have to check out these new experiences:

  • For the first time ever, the Holiday Tribute Store is opening its door in Universal Studios with four rooms decked from wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling, and shelf-to-shelf with holiday goodness. Enjoy traditional goodies in the Bavarian Holiday Festival room; whimsical finds you can only find in the Grinch-inspired room; magical gifts and decor in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter inspired room; and holiday snacks and treats from Earl the Squirrel’s Tree Farm.
  • As you’re on the hunt for the perfect gift in the parks, why not make it a scavenger hunt as well? Purchase a brochure for the Holiday Tree Hunt and discover 16 themed trees throughout Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Universal CityWalk. Collect all 16 stamps and you’ll get an exclusive holiday ornament prize.

Indulge in Holiday Feasts and Treats

Photo: Universal Orlando Resort

My favorite part about the holidays, as my waistband can attest to, is the food. With elaborate feasts, endless amounts of sugary treats, and the excuse to have as much hot cocoa as I want, I live for the holiday food and drinks.

  • New this year is the Holiday Treat Trail. Grab a trail brochure, gather your treat stamps, and enjoy favorites like the holiday ornament doughnuts at Voodoo Doughnut. Once you finish, you get a special completion treat on us!
  • Stop by the Holiday Tribute Store to try holiday treats and snacks you can only get from Earl the Squirrel’s Tree Farm.
  • Universal CityWalk is the place to get whimsical holiday goodies like eggnog cocktails, Peppermint Beignet Sundae from Pat O’ Brien’s, the savory Caribbean dish of Brown Stew Chicken from Bob Marley – A Tribute to Freedom, and more.
  • As I mentioned above, if you’re looking for a full holiday feast, look no further than Universal Orlando’s hotels.

Gingerbread Milkshake: It’s the very definition of Christmas in a cup. This milkshake from The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen has gingerbread, vanilla soft serve, caramel, cinnamon, chocolate ganache, and topped with a gingerbread-man cookie.

Take Advantage of Florida “Winter” Weather

Instead of having to worry about wearing extra layers of clothing, all you have to worry about is an extra layer of sunscreen. Florida “winter” is the perfect time of the year to get outside and enjoy cooler temperatures while soaking in that gorgeous sunshine. Nothing beats being able to lay out by the hotel pool in the dead of winter. Plus, less clothes packed also means more room for shopping goodies! If you’re really craving a brisk winter wind with a bite, I suppose you can ride Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit first thing in the morning…

Need Packing Help? Check here for recommendations on what to pack for the parks and hotels yearn round, as well as a handy checklist to keep you organized.

Instead of Sleigh Rides, Do Thrill Rides!

There’s one thing I can guarantee your holiday vacation will have that others won’t: roller coasters! Don your Hogwarts house scarf and fly through the Forbidden Forest on Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Put Santa’s sleigh to shame by racing through the air at 67 miles per hour on The Incredible Hulk Coaster in Universal’s Islands of Adventure. And you have to try singing Jingle Bells on Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit over in Universal Studios — it really takes Christmas caroling to the next level.

Capture the Best Photo for Your Holiday Card

The holiday season is all about creating lasting memories with your family and friends. I mean, it’s the one time of the year where families still send an actual card with photos wishing everyone “seasons greetings”. Universal has the perfect backdrops for all your holiday photo needs. Ditch the traditional fireplace and snap a pic in front of a fire breathing dragon instead. Make it whimsical with the colorful twists and turns of Seuss Landing, complete with festive decorations. And you can’t beat a matching family PJs pic in front of the Universal Globe.

Oh, Christmas Tree! Holiday card photos are typically in front of the tree, but how often do you see a photo with an 80 ft. tree? The tree in Universal Studios is the perfect spot for a family pic. Add a fun twist by getting a photo of your reflection in one of the giant ornaments.

Ditch the Holiday Stress

This year, more than ever, we all need to escape the reality of the day to day and find what joy we can this holiday season. Which means we also deserve to ditch the stress we typically feel around this time with the shopping, the decorating, the cleaning up for visitors, the cooking, the calories, school winter break, working, and all 50 of the different family activities you have to navigate… Let Universal Orlando take that stress off your shoulders and be your home away from home for the holidays.

You’ll be pampered at our hotels with comfy beds you don’t have to make every day. No need to drive when you’re here with Water Taxis and shuttles that get your around. There is an endless number of fun toys, trinkets, and apparel you could ever want for your Christmas list all in one place. There are dozens of restaurants with all varieties of cuisine for you to enjoy a meal at and not have to wash dishes after. Also, calories don’t count on vacation so… Universal has the decorations, the tree, the eggnog, and the songs. All you have to do is let loose and have fun, safely.

Are you ready to celebrate the holidays at Universal Orlando Resort?


Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort are happening now through Jan. 3, 2021, with hot Butterbeer and beautiful weather staying even longer! Now pack your bags, the kids, presents, whatever you need for your holiday vacay, and get ready for some festive fun. Don’t forget to spread the holiday cheer on Twitter and Instagram with #UniversalHolidays when you get here.

Thanks Universal Orlando Resort Blog!

Guide to 2020 Holiday Treats at Disney Springs at Disney World

Guide to 2020 Holiday Treats at Disney Springs at Disney World

Photo: Disney

The holidays are here and we’re ready to share some jolly foodie cheer! There’s no denying that some of the best food comes out around the holiday season and that’s no exception at Disney Springs. With everything from quick, sweet bites at your favorite quick-service locations to delicious and indulgent dishes, desserts, and cocktails at our incredible restaurants, there’s a little bit of something for everyone’s taste buds. Ready to plan your culinary adventure? Here is your guide to the 2020 holiday treats at Disney Springs:

Photo: Disney

Amorette’s Patisserie (All items available through Jan. 2)

  • Black Forest Parfait – Chocolate mousse with cherry cream and cherry liquor
  • Holiday Mickey Mousse – White chocolate mousse, dark chocolate with chocolate chiffon cake
  • Holiday Petit Cake – Almond Chiffon cake, Hazelnut Panna Cotta, Cherry jam, Chocolate pieces, and hazelnut liqueur 
  • Mickey Santa Dome Cake – Large Dome Cake (Ask a Cast Member for available flavors.)
  • Peppermint Crème Brûlée – Chocolate Peppermint-infused custard with crushed peppermint, meringue and sable cookie 
  • Spiced Yule Log – Red Velvet Chiffon with spiced cheesecake filling, Dark Chocolate Crisp Pearls, garnished with chocolate ganache, poinsettia, and a fondant reindeer
Photo: Disney

AristoCrepes

  • Cherry Jubilee Bubble Waffle – Cherry fruit filling and ice cream in a waffle (Available Dec. 1-Jan.3)
  • Sweet Potato Pie Bubble Waffle – Sweet potato waffle and ice cream topped with marshmallow fluff (Available through Dec. 1)
  • Eggnog Crepe – Eggnog custard in a crepe with pralines (Available Dec. 1 through Jan. 3)
  • Mickey Snow Globe Sipper Cup – Disney Annual Passholder exclusive novelty (Available while supplies last)
Photo: Disney

Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ (Available Nov. 13-Dec. 31)

  • Pumpkin Bread Pudding – Warm, house-baked pumpkin bread in a rich custard topped with rich vanilla bean ice cream and finished with a golden spun sugar garnish
Photo: Disney

City Works Eatery & Pour House

  • 1871 Chili – Angus steak, milk stout, pork, chipotle peppers, sour cream, red onions, served with a cornbread muffin

The Daily Poutine(Available through Jan. 3)

  • Gobbler Poutine – French fries with shredded turkey, gravy, and cheese curds
Photo: Disney

Earl of Sandwich 

  • Holiday Turkey Sandwich – Turkey, cornbread stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, and  mayonnaise
Photo: Disney

The Ganachery (All items available through Jan. 3)

  • Eggnog Ganache Square – Creamy bourbon eggnog covered in dark chocolate
  • Gingerbread Ganache Square – Gingerbread spices combined with creamy milk chocolate
  • Mickey Santa Piñata – Dark chocolate piñata decorated like Mickey Santa filled with marshmallow treats
Photo: Disney

Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop (All items available through Dec. 25)

  • Ghirardelli White Chocolate Caramel Steamer – Steamed milk, rich cocoa butter notes from the white chocolate caramel squares, classic caramel sauce, whipped cream, and a touch of sea salt.
  • Ghirardelli Peppermint Hot Cocoa – Peppermint with the decadence of Ghirardelli chocolate
Photo: Disney

Häagen-Dazs 

  • Peppermint Bark Ice Cream – Rich white chocolate ice cream blended with crunchy chocolaty peppermint bark and peppermint pieces. (Available in a cone, cup or any handmade dessert through Jan. 15.)
Photo: Disney

Jock Lindsey’s Holiday Bar (All items available through Jan. 3)

  • Milk and Cookies by the Fireside – Butter cookies and coquito with rum
  • Child Cookies and Milk – Chocolate chip cookie and milk
  • C9 Light Deviled Eggs – Colored deviled eggs with shrimp, and caviar
  • Grandma’s Favorite Sliders – Venison sausage sliders, cranberry-bacon jam, and watercress on brioche bun
  • Papa Noel’s Churrasco – Flank steak with fried sweet plantains and spicy aji amarillo peanut sauce
  • Jock’s Holiday Nog – Cinnamon- and vanilla-flavored cream liqueur, vodka, hazelnut-flavored liqueur, and vanilla
  • Mistletoe Mule – Vodka, lime, and passion fruit topped  with ginger beer
  • Very Berry Margarita – Tequila, coconut rum, cinnamon- and vanilla-flavored cream liqueur, and cranberry juice
Photo: Disney

Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea

  • Celebrate this holiday season and warm up your heart and cup with Joffrey’s new line of blends including Disney’s Riviera Resort Blend and the 2020 Holiday Blend plus Campfire Mug Gift Set
Photo: Disney

Mac & Cheese (Disney Food Truck)

  • Fried Mac and Cheese – Crispy fried cheesy elbow macaroni with tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese (Available through Jan. 3)
Photo: Disney

Marketplace Snacks

  • Jolly Holiday Float – Cranberry orange juice with vanilla ice cream
  • Olaf Pilsner Novelty Cup 

Outdoor Vending Carts & Kiosks (Available through Jan. 3)

  • Feliz Navidad – Tequila, crème de cassis, apple juice, and lime juice
  • Claus-Mo – Vodka and orange-flavored triple sec liqueur mixed with cranberry juice
  • Mistletoe – Coconut rum, melon-flavored liqueur, blue curaçao liqueur mixed with Pineapple Juice and Orange Juice
  • Florida Yule – Vodka and orange juice topped with ginger beer
  • Winter Wonderland – Cinnamon whisky and cinnamon- and vanilla-flavored cream liqueur
  • Fireside Cider – Cinnamon whisky, vodka, and white cranberry juice
  • Mickey Christmas Tree Novelty Popcorn Bucket (Available while supplies last)
  • Peppermint Mickey Novelty Bottle Topper (Available while supplies last)
  • Mickey Jingle Bell Novelty Glow Cube (Available while supplies last)
Photo: Disney

The Polite Pig

  • Holiday Feast – Leave your Thanksgiving meal to The Polite Pig and order the Holiday Feast featuring your choice of main course, sides, and dessert. Call (407) 938-7444 to order. (Orders must be placed by Nov. 23 for pickup on Nov. 25 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.)
  • Apple Cider Whiskey Sour – Hand-crafted special blend of rye, apple cider, sour mix, and bourbon with a sweet cinnamon sugar rim.
Photo: Disney

Splitsville (All items available Nov. 13-Dec. 31)

  • Grilled Chicken & Apple Flatbread – Maple apple butter, smoked gouda, and goat cheese topped with crisp diced apples, grilled chicken, red onion, bacon, and cilantro
  • Spiced Pear Spritzer – Fresh pear nectar, ginger liqueur, vodka, lemon juice and allspice topped with ginger ale and garnished with star anise
Photo: Disney

Sprinkles 

  • Pumpkin Cupcake – Pumpkin cake laced with fragrant ginger, clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon, topped with sweet cinnamon cream cheese frosting rim (Available through Nov. 29)
  • Double Stuffed Oreo® Cupcake – Oreo® cookie crust, chocolate cake, vanilla buttercream filling, vanilla buttercream frosting with Oreo® crumble rim (Available through Nov. 22)
  • Cannoli Cupcake – Ricotta Pistachio Cake filled and frosted with mascarpone cream, topped with crushed cannoli shells, chopped chocolate chips, and chopped pistachios; finished with truffled chocolate ganache (Available Nov. 23-29)
  • Christmas Cookie Cupcake – Vanilla cake studded with red and green sprinkles topped with vanilla buttercream frosting with red and green sprinkles and a homemade sugar cookie coated in sprinkles (Available Nov. 27- Jan. 3)
  • Gingerbread Cupcake – Spiced ginger cake topped with cream cheese frosting and dusted with cinnamon sugar (Available Nov. 30-Dec. 27)
  • Chocolate Peppermint Cupcake – Belgian dark chocolate cake topped with bittersweet chocolate-peppermint frosting and sprinkled with crushed peppermint candies (Available Nov. 30-Dec. 27)
Photo: Disney

Vivoli il Gelato

  • Tiramisù Push Pop – Tiramisù cream, cocoa powder, and cake soaked in coffee sauce
  • Cotton Candy Affogato – Choice of gelato paired with espresso, whipped cream, and cotton candy
Photo: Disney

Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill (All items available through Dec. 31)

  • Roasted Pumpkin Soup – Cardamom cream, spiced pumpkin seeds
  • Butternut Tortellini – Delicate Squash, cranberries, pumpkin butter
  • Heirloom Apple Salad – Local burrata, baby kale, pear butter, currants, ver jus
  • Fall Spiced Sangria – Apples, pears, cinnamon
Photo: Disney

Wine Bar George 

  • Saganaki On Fire – Made with vlahotiri cheese and metaxa (a Greek spirit), this traditional dish from Greece is set on fire tableside and served with crostini
  • Hooten Young American Whiskey –  Discovered by Master Sommelier George Miliotes – American whiskey with notes of maple, vanilla, ripe apple. and a long smooth finish. Available in the Hoot Cocktail, Wine Bar George Old Fashioned, or however you like to enjoy your whiskey.
Photo: Disney

I know we’re all anxiously awaiting the upcoming opening of Gideon’s Bakehouse! As a sneak peek, I’m excited to share two of their limited-time cookies that will be available through Dec. 31 when they open soon at Disney Springs:  

  • Santa’s White Christmas Cookie – White Chocolate Chip Cookie filled with notes of Coconut, Sweet Caramel, Vanilla, and Nutty Flavors with freshly ground locally roasted coffee beans throughout. The cookie elves have also added the crunch of coarse sugar, the Gideon’s signature sea salt, and a pinch of Christmas glitter.
  • Cookie Vom Krampus Cookie – Deep, dark Triple Chocolate Velvet textured cookie filled with Andes Mint and available in its own special packaging. 

Looking to enjoy a special Thanksgiving meal? A few of our table service restaurants are offering their own unique menus on Thanksgiving Day including: Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’, City Works Eatery & Pour House, Paddlefish, Paradiso 27, Taste of the Americas, Planet Hollywood, Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant, Terralina Crafted Italian, The Edison, and Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill. Reservations are highly encouraged and can be made at disneysprings.com or opentable.com. 

Remember to allow at least 60 minutes to reach your destination when traveling to Disney Springs and be sure to follow @disneysprings on social media for more delicious happenings across property. 

Looking for more delicious holiday treats? Don’t miss the holiday kitchens at EPCOT during the Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays.

Which one of these 2020 holiday treats at Disney Springs are you most excited to try?

Thanks Disney Parks Blog!

15 Fun Facts About Mickey Mouse on His 92nd Birthday

As the famous Walt Disney quote says, “It all started with a Mouse” – and today we’re celebrating that Mouse on his 92nd birthday. So, today, we wanted to share 15 fun facts about Mickey Mouse:

Facts About Mickey Mouse
Photo: Disney

Mickey Mouse made his official film debut on November 18, 1928, in the film “Steamboat Willie,” and has since become a famous face at Disney Parks around the world.

In honor of today’s milestone, here are 15 fun facts about Mickey Mouse you may not know:

  • Walt Disney wrote the first script for “Plane Crazy,” the first short created to star Mickey Mouse, while traveling on a train from Chicago to Los Angeles.
  • Walt initially named Mickey Mouse “Mortimer,” until Walt’s wife, Lily, suggested “Mickey” was a better choice.
Facts About Mickey Mouse
Photo: Disney
  • Disney Legend Ub Iwerks was a lead animator for Mickey Mouse in “Plane Crazy,” and produced an estimated 700 drawings per day for the film, some during the day (as a part of a secret project for Walt) and others after hours in Walt’s garage.
  • The short film “Steamboat Willie” was the first short starring Mickey Mouse released, but was actually the third created. The first two, “Plane Crazy” and “The Gallopin’ Gaucho,” initially failed to find distributors, but were picked up and released later.
  • When penning Mickey’s movements, early animators drew inspiration from popular comedic film stars of the day – like Charlie Chaplin.
  • The first Mickey Mouse Club was formed by theater owner Harry Woodin in Los Angeles. On his own accord, Woodin devoted Saturday afternoons in his theater to showing only Mickey Mouse shorts and led children in a Mickey Mouse pledge. Walt later partnered with Woodin and spread the idea of Mickey Mouse Clubs to movie theaters across the nation.
  • The first Mickey short in which Mickey spoke was “The Karnival Kid,” the ninth Mickey short, which was released in July 1929. His first words: “Hot dog!”
  • Walt Disney wasn’t satisfied with the first few actors chosen to provide a voice for Mickey Mouse, so he did it, and continued to do so through about 1947.
  • A Mickey Mouse comic strip, penned by Ub Iwerks, launched in January 1930, and at its height was printed in 40 newspapers in 22 countries.
  • The first piece of Mickey Mouse merchandise was a tablet of paper that featured the mouse, designed for children. The first Mickey Mouse doll was designed in 1930.
Facts About Mickey Mouse
Photo: Disney
  • Mickey Mouse made his debut appearance in the “Macy’s Santa Claus Parade” (now “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade”) in 1934. Measuring 40-feet-tall, the balloon was handpainted and guided by men and women dressed in Mickey/Minnie Mouse costumes.
  • When Walt was contemplating a name for his first theme park (Disneyland park), he once considered calling it “Mickey Mouse Village.”
  • Mickey Mouse was the first animated character to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which was given on his birthday (November 18) in 1978.
  • Mickey Mouse has been a prominent feature at Disney Parks since Disneyland park opened its doors in 1955, with guests interacting with him in character meet and greets, viewing him in parades or snapping up Mickey Mouse merchandise.
Facts About Mickey Mouse
Photo: Disney

Happy 92nd Birthday, Mickey Mouse! Thanks for reading our fun facts about Mickey Mouse!

Holiday Kitchen Menus for the 2020 Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays

Holiday Kitchen Menus for the 2020 Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays

Holiday Kitchen Menus for the 2020 Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays
Photo: Disney

Celebrating joyous holiday cheer from around the globe, the 2020 Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays presented by AdventHealth will run from November 27 through December 30, 2020. You will find a variety of yuletide decorations, live holiday music at various EPCOT stages, family-friendly activities, and, of course, the delicious food and beverage offerings at the Holiday Kitchens scattered throughout all 11 World Showcase pavilions and World Showplace. 

The popular Holiday Cookie Stroll is back this year with yummy freshly baked cookies from the EPCOT bakery ovens. The Festival Passport lists the five official Holiday Cookie Stroll locations. Each stop will offer a delicious cookie for purchase and a stamp for your Festival Passport. Once you’ve collected all five stamps, bring your Festival Passport to the Sweets & Treats Holiday Kitchen to receive an adorable complimentary Minnie Peppermint Cookie! The Holiday Cookie Stroll can be completed at your own leisure, and you can even bring back your stamped Festival Passport to EPCOT at any time during the festival to complete your stroll. 

In addition to all the cookies and decadent desserts at the festival, the EPCOT pastry chefs have been busy creating a Gingerbread Capital City! Located this year in World Showplace, this sweet patriotic display has gingerbread replicas of some of the nation’s most iconic landmarks including the United States Capitol Building, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, and a 5-foot tall Washington Monument! 

And now it’s time to talk HOLIDAY KITCHENS! This Foodie Guide has it all – from unique and classic holiday dishes to festive seasonal cocktails and beverages. Check out all the delicious details below. Enjoy! 

Refreshment Port (Showcase Plaza) 

Food Items: 

  • Turkey Poutine French Fries with Turkey Gravy, Cranberry Relish, and Crispy Onions  

Beverage Items: 

  • T.G. Lee Eggnog (non-alcoholic)  
  • T.G. Lee Eggnog with Spiced Rum 
Photo: Disney

Citrus Blossom (Showcase Plaza) 

Beverage Items: 

  • Orange Cream Shake in a Souvenir Orange Bird Sipper Cup (non-alcoholic) 
  • 81Bay Brewing Co. Cinnamon Cranberry Orange Wheat Ale, Tampa, FL (New) 
  • Florida Orange Groves Winery Selections 
Photo: Disney

Mele Kalikimaka Holiday Kitchen (Showcase Plaza) 

Food Items: 

  • Kālua Pork with Okinawa Purple Sweet Potatoes and Mango Salad (New) 
  • Lomi Lomi Salmon with Tomatoes, Onions, Salmon Roe, Yuzu Mayonnaise, and Yucca Chips (New) 
  • Haupia: Hawaiian Coconut Pudding with Candied Macadamia Nuts and Coconut (New) 

Beverage Items: 

  • Kona Brewing Co. Big Wave Golden Ale, Kailua-Kona, HI  
  • Florida Orange Groves Sparkling Pineapple Wine, St. Petersburg, FL  
  • Melon Breeze with Spiced Rum (New) 
Photo: Disney

Holiday Sweets & Treats (Promenade Refreshments): 

Food Items: 

  • Peppermint Sundae: Chocolate Ice Cream, Whipped Cream, and Peppermint Candy (Gluten/Wheat Friendly) 
  • Minnie Peppermint Cookie (Cookie Stroll) 

Beverage Items: 

  • Hot Cocoa (non-alcoholic)  
  • Chocolate Peppermint Shake featuring Twinings® Peppermint Cheer Tea (non-alcoholic)  
  • Shipyard Eggnog White Porter, Clearwater, FL  
  • M.I.A. Beer Company Coquito Beer, Doral, FL (New) 
  • Hot Cocoa with Assorted Alcoholic Cordials (Baileys Irish Cream, Frangelico Liqueur or Fireball Cinnamon Whisky) 
  • Chocolate Peppermint Shake featuring Twinings® Peppermint Cheer Tea and Whipped Cream Vodka  

Refreshment Outpost: 

Food Items: 

  • Warm Brown Sugar-stuffed Pretzel with Soft-serve Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce  

Beverage Items: 

  • Frozen Slushy Coca-Cola® or Minute Maid® Lemonade in a Souvenir Spike The Bee Sipper Cup (non-alcoholic)  
  • 3 Daughters Brewing Spicy Apple Cinnamon Hard Cider, St. Petersburg, FL 
Photo: Disney

Bavaria Holiday Kitchen (Germany) 

Food Items: 

  • Pork Schnitzel with Mushroom Sauce, Spätzle, and Braised Red Cabbage  
  • Cheese Fondue in a Bread Bowl with Steamed Baby Vegetables and Marble Potatoes  
  • Linzer Cookie (Cookie Stroll) 

Beverage Items: 

  • Possmann Pure Hard Apple Cider, Frankfurt, Germany 
  • Ayinger Brewery Celebrator Doppelbock, Bavaria, Germany (New) 
  • Regional Riesling  
  • Glühwein: House-made Hot Spiced Wine  
Photo: Disney

American Holiday Table  

Food Items: 

  • Slow-roasted Turkey with Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, and Cranberry Sauce  
  • Holiday Pot Pie with Jackfruit, Mushrooms, Carrots, Peas, Onions, and Puff Pastry (Plant-based item) (New) 
  • Pumpkin Gingerbread Cheesecake with Cranberry Whipped Cream and Candied Pumpkin Seeds (New) 
  • Chocolate Crinkle Cookie (Cookie Stroll) 

Beverages Items: 

  • Bell’s Bright White Ale, Comstock, MI   
  • Shipyard Eggnog White Porter, Clearwater, FL  
  • Playalinda Brewing Co. Peppermint Chocolate Stout, Titusville, FL   
  • Chalk Hill Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast 
  • Martin Bay Vineyards & Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 
Photo: Disney

L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen (Between Morocco & France) 

Food Items: 

  • Pastrami on Rye with House-made Pickles and Deli Mustard  
  • Smoked Salmon Potato Latke  
  • Potato Latkes (Plant-based item) 
  • Sufganiyot: Mini Jelly-filled Donuts  
  • Black and White Cookie (Plant-based item) (Cookie Stroll) 

Beverages Items: 

  • Shmaltz Brewing Company Hanukkah Beer: Golden Jelly Doughnut Pastry Ale, Clifton Park, NY  
  • Blue Cosmo Cocktail 
Photo: Disney

Festival Favorites (World Showplace) 

Food Items: 

  • Blackened Bass, White Cheddar Grits, and Okra with Tomato and Onion Stew, Seasonal Southern Delights 
  • Duck Confit and Dumplings with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Fig Reduction, Alpine Haus 
  • Gingerbread Cookie (Cookie Stroll) 

Beverages Items: 

  • Coquito: Tropical Eggnog (non-alcoholic) 
  • Frozen S’mores (non-alcoholic)  
  • Coquito: Tropical Eggnog with Bacardi Gold Dark Rum 
  • Frozen S’mores with Whipped Cream Vodka 
Photo: Disney

Holiday Hearth (World Showplace) 

Food Items: 

  • Red Velvet Mini Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Icing (New) 
  • Salted Caramel Spaceship Earth® Cookie (New) 
Photo: Disney
  • Snowball Cookies (New) 
  • Peppermint Bark  
  • Stollen: Holiday Fruit Cake  
  • Mouse Crunch (New) 

Beverages Items: 

  • Gingerbread Milkshake (non-alcoholic) (New) 
  • Hot Cocoa (non-alcoholic)  
  • Gingerbread Milkshake with Whipped Cream Vodka (New) 
  • Cocoa Candy Cane: Hot Cocoa with Peppermint Schnapps  

Prost! (World Showplace) 

Food Items: 

  • Charcuterie and Cheese Plate  

Beverages Items: 

  • M.I.A. Beer Company White Christmas IPA, Doral, FL  
  • 3 Daughters Brewing 70 Degree Winter Weizen, St. Petersburg, FL  
  • Playlalinda Brewing Co. Gingerblonde House Ale, Titusville, FL (New) 
  • Ciderboys Mad Bark Apple Cinnamon Hard Cider, Stevens Point, WI(New) 
  • 3 Daughters Brewing Blueberry Peppercorn Hard Cider, St. Petersburg, FL (New) 
  • Beak & Skiff Apple Orchards 1911 Honey Crisp Hard Cider, Lafayette, NY (New) 
Photo: Disney

Yukon Holiday Kitchen (Canada) 

Food Items: 

  • Seared Scallops with Parsnip Silk, Apple Chutney, and Hazelnut Croquant (New) 
  • Beef Bourguignon with Crushed Potatoes (New) 
  • Maple Bûche de Noël: Maple Mousse and Cranberry rolled in Gingerbread Chiffon Cake  
  • Peppermint Pinwheel Cookie (Cookie Stroll) 

Beverages items: 

  • Frozen Coffee (non-alcoholic)  
  • 81Bay Brewing Co. Maple Cinnamon Coffee Beer, Tampa, FL (New) 
  • Regional Icewine  
  • Regional Red Wine  
  • Frozen Coffee with Tap 357 Whisky 

Holiday Beverages in the English Garden (Behind The Tea Caddy) 

  • Twinings® Christmas Tea Toddy served with a Cinnamon Stick (non-alcoholic) 
  • Twinings® Christmas Tea Toddy and Drambui served with a Cinnamon Stick 
Photo: Disney

Le Marché de Noël Holiday Kitchen (France) 

Food Items: 

  • Rillette de Saumon: Salmon Spread with House-made Bread   
  • Dinde Forestière, Pommes Dauphines: Turkey with Bacon, Mushrooms, and Onions in a Mustard Cream Sauce with Puffed Potatoes (New) 
  • Bûche de Noël au Caramel: Christmas Log with Chocolate Cake and Dark Chocolate Caramel Ganache  

Beverage Items: 

  • Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc Fruits Rouges Draft  
  • Rosé Pétillant Méthode Traditionnelle Champenoise: Rosé Sparkling Wine, Pink Flamingo  
  • Cabernet Sauvignon, Village de France  
  • Frozen Hot Chocolate Martini: Grey Goose Vanilla, Vodka, and Chocolate Milk   
Photo: Disney

Sapphire Holiday Kitchen (Morocco) 

Food Items: 

  • Grilled Lamb Kefta Kebab and Grapes with Euro Cucumber, Red Pepper, Pickled Pearl Onions, and Harissa-Cilantro Dressing   
  • Confit of Chermoula Chicken Drum with Cinnamon Granny Smith Apple, Toasted Almonds, Brussels Sprouts, and Pinot Noir Glaze  
  • Sfenj: Warm Beignets with Cream, Cinnamon-Sugar, and Chocolate Sauce   

Beverage Items: 

  • Mediterranean Beer  
  • Kasbah Prestige Red Wine  
  • The Andalusian “Poinsettia” Cocktail: Sparking Wine, Orange Liqueur, and Cranberry Juice topped with Orange Blossom Water  

Tuscany Holiday Kitchen (Italy) 

Food Items: 

  • Biancaneve Italian Flatbread with Mozzarella, Asiago, and Parmesan  
  • Sacchetti alla Boscaiola: Four-cheese Mini Beggar’s Purses filled with Sweet Sausage, Caramelized Onions, Pancetta, and Cremini Mushrooms with a Creamy Sauce (New) 
  • Cannoli Siciliani: Crisp Pastry filled with Sweet Ricotta, Chocolate, and Candied Orange  

Beverage Items: 

  • Peroni Nastro Azzurro Pilsner  
  • Pinot Grigio  
  • Chianti  
  • Prosecco  
  • Rosa Regale  
  • Moscato   
  • Italian White Sangria with Prosecco  
  • Italian Red Sangria with Cabernet Sauvignon  
  • Italian Margarita with Limoncello and Tequila  
Photo: Disney

Shanghai Holiday Kitchen (China)  

Food Items: 

  • Red-stewed Beef Rice Bowl (New) 
  • Curry Chicken Rice Bowl (New) 
  • House-made Crab and Cheese Wontons  

Beverage Items: 

  • “Panda” Bubble Tea: Classic Milk Tea with Black and White Bobas (non-alcoholic)  
  • Tsigntao Lager  
  • Jasmine Draft Beer  
  • Dragonfly: Jose Cuervo Tequila Gold, Vodka, Mango Syrup, and Orange Juice  
  • Marco Boba: Amaretto, Iced Coffee, Milk, and Boba  
  • The Lucky Mo: Peach Schnapps, Peach Syrup, Orange Juice, and Piña Colada Mix  

Shi Wasu Holiday Kitchen (Japan) 

Food Items: 

  • New Year Celebration Soba: Buckwheat Soba Noodles in Hot Dashi Soup with Shrimp Tempura, Fish Cake, and Chopped Green Onion  
  • Chirashi Sushi Tree: Sashimi-grade Tuna, Salmon, Ikura, and Yellowtail with Vegetables decorated on a bed of Rice   
  • Ichigo Mont Blanc Tart: Strawberry and Bavarian Cream-filled Tart sprinkled with Konpeito (New) 

Beverages items

  • Ichigo Milk Boba: Cranberry and Yuzu Cream Drink with Japanese Calpico and popping Strawberry Boba Pearls (non-alcoholic)  
  • Sapporo Draft Beer  
  • Tsubaki Whiskey Sour: Plum Wine with Whiskey, Cranberry Juice, Sugar, and Lemon  
Photo: Disney

Las Posadas Holiday Kitchen (Mexico) 

Food Items: 

  • Giant Tostada de Chorizo: Chorizo served on a Giant Tostada with Chipotle Black Bean Purée, Salsa Verde, Queso Cotija, Crema Mexicana, and Pickled Onion (Gluten/Wheat Friendly) (New) 
  • Tamal de Pollo: Braised Chipotle Chicken served in a Corn Masa topped with Mole Verde, Queso Cotija, Crema Mexicana, and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds (Gluten/Wheat Friendly) 
  • Dulce de Leche Churros: Dulce de Leche filled Churros sprinkled with Cinnamon-Sugar (New) 

Beverages Items

  • Tulum Mexican Craft Beer with a Blackcurrant and Ginger Liqueur Floater  
  • Pumpkin Spice Margarita: Tomba Blanco Tequila, Ojo de Tigre Mezcal, Nixta Corn Liqueur, Pumpkin Spice Purée, and Lime-Agave Juice with Cinnamon-Sugar Rim (New) 
  • Horchata Margarita: Casa Noble Blanco Tequila, Abasolo Corn Whiskey, Horchata Rum, Agua de Horchata, and a hint of Cinnamon-infused Mezcal Liqueur 
Photo: Disney

Funnel Cake (The American Adventure) 

  • Sweet Potato Casserole Funnel Cake topped with Marshmallow Topping, Cinnamon-Sugar, Honey-roasted Pecans, and a Caramel Drizzle (New) 

Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company®– All Locations: 

  • Caramel Tinsel Latte:A cheerful Chocolatey Latte drizzled with Caramel Sauce and crumbled TWIX® Original, available hot or iced (New) 
  • Caramel Tinsel Donut topped with crumbled TWIX® Original  

Are you heading to the 2020 Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays? Which dish are you most excited to try?

Don’t miss the holiday fun throughout the Walt Disney World Resort. You’ll find festive décor, themed merchandise, seasonal food & beverage offerings and entertainment, happening now through December 30, 2020!

This information was originally shared by the Disney Parks Blog.