21 New Experiences at Universal Orlando Resort You Can’t Miss

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

If you haven’t noticed, Universal Orlando Resort has gone through a lot of changes. Whether it’s ride upgrades, new attractions, or even an entirely new theme park, there’s a lot that’s waiting for you. As you plan your trip, here are 21 new experiences at Universal you MUST experience during your next visit.

1. Catch the Ragtime Gals at Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon in Universal Studios Florida

Insider Tip: There are two different Ragtime Gals performances you can experience.

2. Chill with the Carnictis at the Skull Island: Reign of Kong Queue in Universal’s Islands of Adventure

I’m pretty sure it doesn’t bite.

3. Sink Your Toes into the Sand of Waturi Beach at Universal’s Volcano Bay

BYOS: Bring Your Own Sunscreen

4. Get Your Rum on with Over 70 Different Rums at Strong Water Tavern at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort

Insider Tip: There’s an official Strong Water Tavern rum that’s low-key legit.

5. Gear Up for a High-Octane Experience at Fast & Furious – Supercharged in Universal Studios

Gotta live life a quarter mile at a time.

6. (Attempt to) Finish a Shake at The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen in Universal CityWalk

It’s more of a feat of will than anything.

7. Explore the Interactive Desks While You Wait to Race Jimmy Fallon

The games are pretty addicting tbh.

8. Two Words: Butterbeer Fudge at Sugarplum’s Sweet Shop in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley

Yep. It really does exist.

9. Get Hulk-a-fied on the Newly Renovated The Incredible Hulk Coaster in Islands of Adventure

It’s legit amazing.

10. Find All of the Tapu-Tapu Activations Throughout Volcano Bay

I’d give you a hint but where’s the fun in that?

11. Relax at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort’s 16,000-Square-Foot Pool.

They’ve got poolside activities, hot tubs, a waterslide and more.

12. Brunch it up at The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen

You can thank me later.

13. Compare Your Strength with the All-New Marquee at The Incredible Hulk Coaster

Hulk’s probably got you beat.

14. Meet Hashtag the Panda at Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon

You can almost feel the rhythm standing next to him.

15. Look Out for the Locals Within Skull Island: Reign of Kong

They’re not too welcoming to tourists.

16. Check Out the Unique Merchandise and Treats at the Hello Kitty Store

Insider Tip: Some of their merchandise has cute nods to Universal characters.

17. Quench Your Thirst with Volcano Bay’s Exclusive Drinks

Try. The. POG.

18. Meet Professor Doctor Penelope Tibeaux-Tinker Toothsome – The Woman Behind the Restaurant

Don’t forget about her robot friend, Jacques.

19. Experience the wonder of The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade

My jaw seriously dropped when I saw this.

20. Take a Musical Journey into the Caribbean with Caribbean Carnival at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort

Get ready to limbo.

21. Amp Up Your Style with Some Fast & Furious – Supercharged Merchandise.

Game of cards, anyone?

You can check out ALL there is to do here.

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.

Take a Disney Cruise from New Orleans or to Hawaii in 2020

From the Disney Parks Blog:

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Take a Disney Cruise from New Orleans or to Hawaii in 2020

In early 2020, Disney Cruise Line will be setting sail from New Orleans for the very first time! Families can sail aboard the Disney Wonder for a tropical getaway combined with incredible Disney entertainment. Six cruises during the limited-time season from New Orleans include four-, six- and seven-night Western Caribbean sailings; a seven-night Bahamian cruise; and a 14-night Panama Canal voyage.

Those of you from the area, get ready to experience the magic of having a Disney ship in your own backyard. And if you’re coming from farther away, take time before or after your Disney cruise to discover the Southern charm that’s made New Orleans famous. You can savor the distinct flavors of New Orleans cuisine, visit family-friendly museums and parks, and revel in the sweet melodies of world-renowned jazz music.

In New Orleans, you’ll find magic around every corner as you recognize the iconic sights and sounds that inspired the beloved animated film “The Princess and the Frog.” Then onboard the Disney Wonder, you’ll be treated to a celebration of New Orleans dining and entertainment at Tiana’s Place restaurant with a menu that draws inspiration from the flavors and ingredients of the Louisiana bayou and live music that sets a French Quarter supper club atmosphere.

And that’s not all! Disney also announced a highly anticipated return to the Hawaiian Islands, along with tropical cruises from Puerto Rico, Florida and California. Read on for more details, and then start planning your Disney cruise vacation for early 2020!

After five years, Disney Cruise Line will make its much-anticipated return to Hawaii. As part of Disney Cruise Line’s early 2020 itineraries, the Disney Wonder will sail to Kiwiliwili on the pristine, mountainous island of Kauai, Hawaii. (David Murphey, photographer)

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Long-Awaited Return to Hawaii
After a five-year hiatus, the Disney Wonder will return to Hawaii in early 2020 for two special cruises: a nine-night voyage to Honolulu from Vancouver, Canada, on April 29, and a 10-night sailing back to Vancouver on May 8. You can discover the breathtaking beauty of the Hawaiian Islands, including the famous beaches of Waikiki on Oahu; the views from high atop the summit of Haleakala on Maui; the lush tropical gardens and waterfalls of Kauai; and the diverse natural wonders of Hawaii Island.

From San Juan, Puerto Rico in early 2019, the Disney Wonder sets sail on three special cruises to the Southern Caribbean, visiting tropical destinations renowned for beautiful sun-kissed beaches and warm azure waters. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Popular Itineraries from Puerto Rico and California
The Disney Wonder continues its standout season with returns to popular home ports on both coasts. First, the ship sets sail for the Southern Caribbean during two seven-night voyages departing Jan. 19 and 26 from San Juan, Puerto Rico, followed by a five-night Bahamian cruise. Then beginning on March 20, the ship embarks on seven sailings to Baja and the Mexican Riviera, ranging in length from two to seven nights, from San Diego, California.

In early 2020, the Disney Fantasy will continue sailing guest-favorite itineraries to the Bahamas and Caribbean from Port Canaveral, Florida, including sailings that stop at the beautiful and vibrant island of Tortola. (Kent Phillips, photographer)

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Unforgettable Tropical Getaways from Florida
In early 2020, Disney Cruise Line will have three ships sailing to the Bahamas and Caribbean from Florida, and every cruise includes a day of fun in the sun on Disney’s private Bahamian island reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests, Castaway Cay.

  • From Miami, the Disney Magic will sail three-, four- and five-night Bahamian cruises and five-night Western Caribbean cruises.
  • From Port Canaveral, near Orlando, the Disney Fantasy will sail seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, plus two special sailings at six- and eight-nights each. The Disney Dream will sail three- and four-night Bahamian cruises.

With a variety of options from Florida, you can choose the vacation that provides something for everyone in your family, combining the adventure and relaxation of tropical destinations, the ease and indulgence of an ocean cruise, and the world-class entertainment and service of a Disney vacation.

Bookings open to the public on Oct. 4, 2018. More details on 2020 itineraries can be found on the Ports and Itineraries for 2020 page of disneycruise.com.

Centertown Market and Banana Cabana to Open Late Fall 2018 at Caribbean Beach

From the Disney Parks Blog:

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Disney has recently shared some exciting (and tasty) new details about the expansion of Centertown Market as well as a festive, pool-side bar called Banana Cabana at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort!

First up is Centertown Market – this quick-service restaurant has been expanded and reimagined as an indoor street market. The new and inviting space includes open shutters, wooden light posts, awnings, and most importantly, delicious new eats. The new menu at Centertown Market will include a combination of family-friendly fast casual offerings mixed with customizable Latin and Caribbean-inspired dishes. One of the highlights of the menu is the new Island Bowl available for breakfast and dinner.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

These bowls can be customized with your choice of base, protein, sauce, and if you’re ordering a breakfast bowl, you can even choose what kind of egg you want on top (scrambled, poached, or tofu scramble). Bases include red beans and rice (offered all day), home fries (for breakfast), and greens (for dinner). For proteins, choose between rotisserie beef, bacon, chorizo, or plant-based sausage for breakfast and rotisserie beef, pork shoulder, banana leaf-wrapped fish, jerk chicken thighs, or vegan chipotle seitan for dinner! Breakfast sauce options include salsa verde or pico de gallo, while the dinner sauces include chimichurri, garlic ranch, or spicy pink sauce. With all of these options, there are over 30 different combinations to choose from for both breakfast and dinner!

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

On the breakfast menu are classic dishes like Eggs Benedict or the All American Breakfast Platter with eggs, home fries, sausage, bacon, and toast as well as island-inspired creations like Coconut Waffles with fresh fruit or the Banana Pancakes topped with granola and pineapple chunks and served with sausage and maple syrup.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Fresh salads, Sicilian-style pizza, pasta dishes, and a variety of sandwiches and burgers round out the dinner menu to provide a little something for everyone in the family!

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

If you’re craving something sweet, try the Tropical Tart with key lime, mango, and passion fruit curd with Chantilly or the Chocolate Crème Tart with chocolate cake, coffee Chantilly, and caramel crispies.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

There’s also a wonderful array of options for kids! They’ll enjoy some familiar favorites like Pirate Mickey Waffles and French Toast for breakfast and Chicken Breast Nuggets, Tacos, and Grilled Cheese for dinner. For the adventurous little sailors, our chefs created some unique new offerings like the Egg Popper for breakfast (a hard-boiled egg pop with green pirate juice, roasted pineapple, and bacon) and the Beef and Mushroom-blended Cheeseburger for dinner (with “cauli” fries, orange sauce, and a mini “build-your-own” Island Bowl).

The expansive beverage island will offer fountain beverages featuring Coca-Cola® Freestyle, freshly-brewed coffee, and a variety of teas as well as draft beer and single-serve wine and cocktails. Or you can step inside the Grab ‘n Go Market, where you’ll find delightful specialty coffees and quick bites to-go.

Now – let’s talk about the Banana Cabana! This pool-side bar will feature an outdoor lounge where your family can gather for some yummy food and refreshing alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. The lounge is inspired by the festive culture found in the Caribbean, mixing a relaxed sitting area with a lively bar. Cabana-style drapes flank the seating groups and re-purposed steel drums will illuminate a central communal table made from a wooden boat.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

It’s always “island time” at Banana Cabana, and what better way to immerse yourself in those tropical vibes than with exclusive cocktails made with premium spirits and Caribbean seafood and mainland dishes. Delightfully-flavored libations include the Pink Guava Colada featuring rum, guava puree, pineapple juice, and cream of coconut and the Kraken Punch with spiced rum, blood orange sour, and pomegranate and orange juices. Caribbean beers will also be available for islanders along with a variety of craft and traditional beers and premium white and red wines on tap.

For non-alcoholic options, adventures await you with drinks made with fruit juices and tropical flavors. One of these drinks is the Tropical Paradise, a fruity blend of pineapple coconut, cinnamon, and lime dusted with nutmeg.

Centertown Market and Banana Cabana are set to open in late Fall of 2018 and are part of the greater reimagining of Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.

Start Planning your 2018 Holiday Vacation at Universal Orlando Resort

From the Universal Orlando Resort Blog:

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

There’s no better way to beat the heat of summer than to dream of cooler weather and start planning a 2018 holiday vacation. Here are 6 reasons why it’s never too early to plan for the Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort, November 17-January 6.

1. Christmas Cheer and Hot Butterbeer

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

During the summer, nothing beats a cold or frozen Butterbeer. But during the holidays, hot Butterbeer is a seasonal favorite for witches, wizards and Muggles alike. Grab a cup and cozy up as you watch special holiday-themed shows from the Frog Choir and Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees. Admire the festive window dressings as you stroll through The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley. When the sun sets, witness The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle – a wonderous nighttime projection light show in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade.

2. Balloons That Make Anyone Feel Merry

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s brings out the child in all of us. Gaze upon larger-than-life balloons and incredibly detailed floats as more than 100 choreographed performers take part in this family-favorite parade. Minions from Illumination’s Despicable Me, fairytale characters from Shrek, and wild animals of Madagascar come together for this celebration of epic proportions.

3. Steal Christmas and Your Family’s Heart

Who-liday joy is all around during Grinchmas at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. The centerpiece of the celebration is the “Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular” – a live retelling of Dr. Seuss’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” You can even meet some of the Whos and snap a photo with the Grinch himself. For breakfast with a side of malarkey, make reservations to attend a character breakfast with The Grinch at Circus McGurkus Cafe Stoo-pendous.

4. Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock

What’s Christmastime without music? Performing on select nights, Mannheim Steamroller takes over the Music Plaza Stage at Universal Studios Florida to fill the air with the sounds of the season. With their modern take on classic holiday hits, you’ll get into the holiday spirit in no time.

5. Home Away from Home for the Holidays

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

The on-site resort hotels at Universal Orlando pull out all the stops for the holidays with festive décor, tree lightings, yummy treats and holiday activities. From cookie decorating and carolers to visits with Santa, there is seasonal fun for the entire family to enjoy.

6. The Best Party of this Year—and Next

The celebration continues into the new year. Dance the night away on Orlando’s biggest outdoor dance floor with a live DJ as you party your way into 2019 during EVE at Universal CityWalk. Enjoy signature cocktails and unlimited cuisine as you rock out to live music at some of Universal CityWalk’s six party zones and lively clubs. The evening culminates with dazzling fireworks and a champagne toast at midnight. Note that this is a separately ticketed event for guests ages 21 and older.

Planning to spend the holidays with us? Be sure to check out the Holiday Stay and Play Package, which includes $100 savings on travel from November 17-January 6, plus:

  • 5-Night Hotel Accommodations
  • 3-Park, 5-Day Base Ticket to Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure AND Universal’s Volcano Bay
  • Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Universal’s Volcano Bay one hour before the park opens (valid theme park admission required)
  • Access to select live entertainment venues at Universal CityWalk

Click here for full details and restrictions.

Come celebrate the holidays with your favorite characters and create special memories that will last a lifetime. Start planning now for a #HolidayLikeThis to give your family the gift of holiday magic.

Five Ways to Enjoy Halloween Time at the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort

From the Disney Parks Blog:

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Five Ways to Enjoy Halloween Time at the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort

Spooky fun and full of delight, the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort have terrifyingly tasty treats, amazing displays and ghostly entertainment, all sure-fire ways to extend the Halloween Time experience, before, during or after a great day at the parks.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Enjoy the Spook-tacular Seasonal Decor: In the lobby of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa is a “spook-tacular” edible display of Halloween pumpkins. These pumpkins take a ghoulish form with Oogie Boogie, and are built from cereal treats, icing, chocolate, and fondant. Our talented pastry chefs used over 200 pounds of icing, 100 pounds of chocolate, and 300 pounds of fondant to create these incredible pumpkins. See if you can find the 13 Hidden Mickeys throughout the display!

Also during Halloween Time, experience ghoulish décor surrounding the Disneyland Hotel and discover the swashbuckler in you at the pirate-themed Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel. The pirates have hoisted the Jolly Roger flag in the lobby, calling all buccaneers for fun at “Pirates Pier”!

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Exclusive Trick-or-Treating for Hotel Guests: On select afternoons from October 2 through October 31, overnight guests of the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort are invited to drop in for a howling good time and exclusive, complimentary trick-or-treat festivities. Together, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, the Disneyland Hotel, and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel will have a treat map of locations, so little ghosts and goblins (and their parents) can visit all three hotels. The hotels are offering activities such as coloring pages, bat mask decorating and create-your-own pirate hat. Cookie decorating kits are also available for a fee. Hotel guests are encouraged to sign up at the Guest Services desk.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Surprise Your Family With an In-Room Pumpkin Bucket: Plan a Halloween-themed surprise with goodies delivered right to your Disneyland Resort hotel room. These Halloween Treats Pumpkin Buckets can be specially arranged with the magic-makers from Disney Floral & Gifts for your favorite ghost or goblin. The amenity delivery starts with a light-up Mickey pumpkin bucket filled with ghostly treats with a one-of-a-kind Halloween-themed keepsake with a Mickey Mouse pumpkin light-up lanyard. For more details, please call 714-781-4438 or visit www.DisneyFloralandGifts.com.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Taste (and Photograph!) Yummy Halloween Treats: At Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, you’ll find a holiday cart in the lobby serving up some scary and sweet Mickey-shaped cookies featuring iconic Halloween-inspired decorations. This cart is also serving up Halloween whoopie pies, jumbo cake pops, pretzel rods, a cookie box with Witch Finger cookies, and pumpkin pound cake. At The Coffee House at the Disneyland Hotel, you can find a chocolate Bat Cookie. Across all three hotels, the Red Poison Apple Glow Cube can be found at restaurant or quick service locations. The flavors of fall have arrived as well, with Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Surfside Lounge at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel and Pumpkin Muffins at The Coffee House at the Disneyland Hotel.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Check out Eerie Musical Entertainment: Ghostly a capella performers, the Skeletones and the Cryptix, stroll and perform throughout the hotels of the Disneyland Resort, as well the Scareolers in Downtown Disney. Enjoy harmonizing tunes such as “I Put a Spell on You” and “Grim Grinning Ghosts.”

Top 5 Tips for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom

From the Disney Parks Blog:

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Fall arrived early at Magic Kingdom Park this year so it’s time for one of my favorite events of the year, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween PartyMagic Kingdom Park is transformed with glowing jack o lanterns, family-friendly frights and grinning ghosts. But when you combine unlimited candy, lively parades, dazzling fireworks, and characters galore it could be a bit overwhelming for preschoolers. My advice for a spooktacular, stress-free night is to plan, pace and embrace the wicked festivities. Here are a few tips for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party:

1. Get a game plan. What are the must dos? Is the goal to score candy, watch Mickey’s “Boo-To-You” Parade, ride the attractions, or all of the above? Be aware of times for fireworks, shows, character meet and greets and the parade. Arrive early to get prime viewing for the earlier parade. (To avoid any meltdowns, prep your little one about the haunting headless horseman who leads the parade down Main Street, U.S.A., or just skip that part.)

2. Check the weather. If temperatures are soaring, be prepared to shift gears from that fancy princess gown and heels, to a lightweight costume or Halloween-themed t-shirt paired with a themed light-up necklace instead. The kids may put up a fight, but in the end, they will be comfy and happy!

3. Get a head start. Although 7 p.m. is the official start time for the party, you can actually arrive as early as 4 p.m. with your special event ticket. Venture to favorite attractions, indulge in a yummy candy corn milkshake or ice cream cone, and be among the first inside the party to partake in Halloween fun.

4. Dance the night away. The new Storybook Circus Junior Jam dance party features Disney Junior stars like Vampirina and Doc McStuffins. Kids will love to rock out with their pals and burn off some energy!

5. Indulge in the treats. With more than a dozen trick or treat locations scattered throughout the park it’s tough to monitor the sugar intake. Note that there are healthy treats to behold as well as a dedicated allergy-friendly stop, just in case. (But if you are looking to score a big haul of candy bring your own sack or bucket.)

Guests are encouraged to purchase tickets for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party in advance, as space each night is limited. (There is a savings of $10 per ticket when you purchase in advance for most nights!) For more information, visit https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/magic-kingdom/mickeys-not-so-scary-halloween-party/ or call (407) WDISNEY (934-7639).

19 Magical New Experiences at Disney World in 2019

From the Disney Parks Blog:

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Now, more than ever it’s time to start planning your 2019 Walt Disney World Resort vacation, because there will be more to see, do, taste and experience here next year than ever before! Whatever your passion for Disney, there’s a big dose of pixie dust waiting for you at all four parks.

Love Mickey and Minnie Mouse? Want to get wild with “The Lion King”? Feel like playing with your Pixar pals? Or maybe live music is your thing? All this and more will be waiting for you next year. Here’s a glance at 19 limited-time and new experiences at Disney World in 2019 to look forward to!

Starting January 18, 2019…

1. In honor of the true originals, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Mickey & Minnie’s Surprise Celebrationwill bring new music, dancing and all sorts of other fun to Magic Kingdom Park.

2. For starters, the new “Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It! Street Party” at Magic Kingdom Park will invite you to dance with Mickey, Minnie and their pals in front of Cinderella Castle. Shake it along with live singers belting out new arrangements of classic “Mickey Mouse Club” songs.

3. The Dapper Dans and other entertainers on Main Street, U.S.A. at Magic Kingdom Park will sing songs in honor of Mickey and Minnie.

4. Look for special Mickey- and Minnie-themed merchandise and food at Magic Kingdom Park to make this party complete.

5. And this is a Surprise Celebration, after all, so you can expect more Limited-Time Magicentertainment and other experiences to pop up periodically around Magic Kingdom Park.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

6. The Incredibles are coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, as Pixar Place will transform into a Metroville city block.

7. At the end of the block, a party will be held in honor of Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible and Frozone to celebrate their Super deeds.

8. Meet the one and only Edna Mode – the greatest super suit designer! She will set up a special location on Pixar Place showcasing some of her best creations (no capes!).

9. Also on Pixar Place, look for clues to the whereabouts of the youngest Incredible, the mischievous and multi-powered Jack-Jack.

10. Elsewhere at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, a door to the monster world will open inside Walt Disney Presents, where you’ll have a chance to meet Mike and Sulley from Pixar’s Monsters, Inc.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

11. Celebrate the 25th anniversary of Walt Disney Pictures’ “The Lion King” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom along with Timon and Rafiki in the “Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party” on Discovery Island. Let your inner animal roam free on the dance floor in this raucous party!

12. Also at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, have fun posing in front of special three-dimensional photo opportunities re-creating scenes from the animated classic.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

13. The Epcot International Festival of the Arts is back! This year’s special event takes place Jan. 18 – Feb.25, allowing you to indulge in world-class culinary, visual and performing arts.

14. The Disney on Broadway Concert Series is expanding to seven days a week during the Festival of the Arts, so you’ll have even more opportunities to experience some Disney musical magic live on stage.

And later in the year…

15. Welcome spring’s arrival with the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, returning March 6 – June 3 with its wide selection of delectable bites at outdoor kitchens and dozens of Disney-themed topiaries blooming around the park.

16. Even better, this year’s Garden Rocks Concert Series expands, as well, to seven days a week during the Flower & Garden Festival, which means a total of 270 concerts over the course of the 90-day event.

17. Ka-Chow! Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy rolls into Disney’s Hollywood Studios in spring 2019. In this new show experience, you’ll come face to face with Lightning and learn from his years of experience on the track.

18. Outside the Racing Academy, you’ll get to meet Lightning McQueen’s speedy pal, Cruz Ramirez.

And finally…

19. If you haven’t visited Walt Disney World Resort recently, then there’s even more for you to explore and experience. Become an honorary toy at Toy Story Land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, travel to the bioluminescent planet of Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom or wish a fond farewell to “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” – the nighttime spectacular at Epcot– before its conclusion scheduled for the second half of 2019.

Whew…that’s a lot! Now, more than ever you’ll want to be here for it all. Don’t wait to book your 2019 Disney World vacation! Be sure to tell us in the comments which one of these experiences at Disney World in 2019 that you are most looking forward to!

15 Halloween Horror Nights Tips So You Experience It Like a Pro

From the Universal Orlando Resort Blog:

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights will probably be unlike anything you have ever experienced. It’s so fun and terrifying at the same time. Since this limited time event goes so quickly, we hope these 15 Halloween Horror Nights tips will help you make the most of your time in the park.

BEFORE YOU GO…

1. Have a Game Plan

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

There’s a lot to see and do at Halloween Horror Nights, so it helps to plan ahead. What are the haunted houses you really want to experience? Which scare zones must you hit? Which attractions do you want to ride to take a break from the screams? Check out the event map, talk it out with your friends and come up with a list of the must-dos.

2. Make Sure You’re Well Rested

Halloween Horror Nights kicks off at 6:30p on event nights and closes in the wee hours of the morning. You don’t want your fatigue to be the reason you head home early! Take a nice afternoon nap, grab a coffee, or whatever it takes to help you feel rejuvenated for the event.

3. Dress Comfortably (And Check Your Footwear)

I can’t stress this enough. Remember, Halloween Horror Nights is a very intense event, and we all react differently to being scared (some run, some crouch, some freeze and some flail). Make sure you’re dressed appropriately for whatever your coping mechanism may be.

And wear comfortable shoes. The only thing worse than being stalked by a horrifying chainsaw clown is trying to escape them in a pair of shoes you regret wearing.

4. Be Mindful of Your Hair Style

This may seem kind of random, but this ties to tip #3. You’re going to be pretty active during your visit, so make sure you’re rocking a hair style that works for you in the horror environment. Sometimes, I wear my hair away from my face so I can see everything that’s happening (and it keeps me cooler).

5. Try to Carry as Little as Possible

If you can, try to carry only the essentials with you during your visit, like your car keys, wallets, diaper (if you’re really that scared). You won’t want to lug a huge bag around all night. This will also help you move a little quicker through the Security line.

WHILE YOU’RE HERE…

6. Take a Picture of Where You Parked

Because your memory is going to be jam-packed with all of the frights you experienced—and it’s really important to find your car at the end of the night.

7. Visit the Park During the Day

If you visit Universal Studios Florida during the day and have an admission ticket for Halloween Horror Nights that evening, you’ll have a huge advantage over guests who are only attending the event. When the park closes for daytime operation and begins the switchover to Halloween Horror Nights, you’ll actually be held in a designated area in park until the event opens. Then, once it starts, you’ll be released into the event – so you’re already in park while others are just starting to enter the front gate. This will help you get to those haunted houses a little bit quicker.

8. Arrive Early

(Photo: Universal Orlando Resort Blog)

If you choose not to visit the park during the day, I highly recommend you arrive early. Give yourself time to park, go through Security and venture through Universal CityWalk to Universal Studios. You can knock out some of the haunted houses pretty quickly if you’re one of the first inside the event.

9. Go Against the Grain

Halloween Horror Nights is sensory overload and often times, guests stop at the first haunted house or scare zone they see. Don’t be afraid to do the opposite. Once you get into the park, consider going straight to the back and to the furthest house. There’s a good chance that the wait times are going to be shorter.

10. Enjoy the Scare Zones

A lot of people rush through the scare zones – and I get it. You’re being stalked by scareactors and you’re just trying to make it to the other side. But try to find a spot where you can just watch the action in the streets. Sometimes, there are special show moments in the scare zones that you may miss if you just rush through. Plus, it’s SO entertaining to watch other folks get scared.

11. Take Time to Ride the Rides

People come to Halloween Horror Nights for the scares…but make sure you take a moment to experience some of the attractions as well. The wait times are often shorter during the event than they are during the day. Plus, the rides will provide you a nice break from the screams.

12. Keep Your Eyes Peeled

Remember the coping mechanisms mentioned earlier? Well, one we see pretty often is people covering their eyes. If you can, try not to do this. There are a ton of details and easter eggs you’ll miss if you aren’t looking. Trust me – no matter how scared you are, try (your best) to keep your eyes open. Besides, who wouldn’t WANT to get a good look at the scareactors that are preying upon them? Okay, maybe not…

13. Stay Hydrated and Grab Food

You’re going to scream…a lot! And screaming takes a ton of energy. Make sure you drink water (or whatever your beverage of choice is…I won’t judge!) throughout the night to stay hydrated. And grab food—you don’t want to be hangry. You can either grab dinner prior to your visit or take advantage of all of the eateries in the park. To really amp up your night, consider a Scareactor Dining experience.

14. Play a Game While You’re Waiting in the Queues

One way to make time go by a little faster while you’re waiting in a queue is to play a mobile game. Check out the new TERROR TRIVIA game in The Official Universal Orlando Resort App. You can test your knowledge on this year’s haunted houses and all things Halloween Horror Nights.

15. Take Photos

If you didn’t post about it, did it really happen? Make sure to capture the moments and take selfies and photos throughout the event. The visuals help when you’re recounting your experience with your friends. And they make great profile pics. Make sure you tag us with #HHN28!

There you have it, fifteen Halloween Horror Nights tips to get the most out of your Halloween Horror Nights visit. Any tips you would add? Let me know in the comments below.

If you haven’t already, choose an event night now through Nov. 3.

11 Ways to Celebrate the Playful World of Pixar at Disneyland Resort

From the Disney Parks Blog:

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Although the first-ever Pixar Fest at the Disneyland Resort has come to an end, don’t dismay! There are so many ways to enjoy the world of Pixar at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks. Here are 11 ways to continue celebrating some of your favorite Pixar stories and characters throughout the year:

ëPAINT THE NIGHTí PARADE (ANAHEIM, Calif.) ñ The popular nighttime parade returns to the Disneyland Resort for Pixar Fest, this time making its way through Disney California Adventure Park. Slinky Dog and Woody from ìToy Storyî appear in ìPaint the Nightî parade, along with many beloved Disney and Pixar pals. This after-dark spectacular shimmers with more than 1 million brilliant lights, high-energy music and cutting edge special effects. (Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

1. Snag a spot for the parades: Although Pixar Fest has ended, favorite Pixar-themed parades are sticking around for a bit longer! Hang out with Pixar pals at “Pixar Play Parade” by day, and watch “Paint the Night” light up the sky by night.

2. Play at Pixar Pier: Pixar Pier in Disney California Adventure park is packed with amazing attractions that keep the spirit of Pixar Fest alive. From Pixar Pal-A-Round to Incredicoaster, there’s something for everyone! Stop by the Games of Pixar Pier for a bit of friendly competition inspired by films like “WALL-E” and “Toy Story,” to name a few.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

3. Try tasty treats: Visit Pixar-themed eateries like Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats, Bing Bong’s Sweet Stuff and Jack-Jack Cookie Num Nums for delicious foods inspired by favorite films.

4. Strike a pose: Check out some of the most picture-perfect, Pixar-themed locations at Disneyland Resort. The “Up”-themed wall and the Buzz Lightyear wings wall in Disney California Adventure park are two photo ops you won’t want to miss.

YELLOW SUBMARINE – The original submarines from the Disneyland Submarine Voyage, a popular attraction for many years at the California theme park, have been extensively refitted for the 21st Century adventure of Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. The new attraction, which premieres June 11, takes explorers on an undersea voyage during which they’ll have close encounters with the fish characters from the Disney-Pixar movie Finding Nemo.
Photo: Paul Hiffmeyer/Disney

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

5. Embark on an underwater expedition: The iconic underwater setting and characters of Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage in Disneyland park will have you feeling like you are inside “Finding Nemo.”

6. Celebrate the Pixar fun with the Play Disney Parks app: Download the new Play Disney Parks app to brush up on trivia and more! Play the in-queue game “Playset Party” at Toy Story Midway Mania! to turn wait time into play time, test your knowledge with Cars Land trivia, and earn ride achievements on attractions like Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters!*

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Tuesday, June 13, 2017: Disney California Adventure gets can now meet Cars 3 stars Lightning McQueen and Cruz Ramirez when they visit Cars Land. (Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort)

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

7. Cruise by Cars Land: Make a pit stop at Cars Land, inspired by the hit Pixar film “Cars,” during your next visit. Mater, Lightning McQueen, Cruz Ramirez and others are ready to welcome you to Radiator Springs.

8. Shoot the breeze under the sea: Step right up to the “hydrophone” for Turtle Talk with Crush, the coolest turtle in the ocean. Say hello to favorite characters from “Finding Nemo” and “Finding Dory” in this live chat experience.

Lagoon Filled 12/09

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

9. Visit Monstropolis: There’s a child loose in Monstropolis, and Mike and Sulley are here to save the day at Monster’s, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue! in Hollywood Land. Join characters from “Monster’s, Inc.” in the rush to return Boo to her bedroom.

10. Take aim and defeat evil Emperor Zurg: At Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters in Tomorrowland, fire an invisible laser each time you see a “Z” target, and help Buzz Lightyear save Andy’s helpless toys. Which member of your party can earn the highest score?

PLAZA DE LA FAMILIA (ANAHEIM, Calif.) — Guests will be introduced to the story of “Coco” with a festive show, A Musical Celebration of Coco, featuring dance and musical performances by the Storytellers of Plaza de la Familia. The musical gathering features a charming storyteller and a lively group of singers and folklórico dancers dressed in beautiful costumes accompanied by the Grammy® Award-winning Mariachi Divas. (Joshua Sudock/ Disneyland Resort)

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

11. Experience Plaza de la Familia: Inspired by Disney•Pixar Academy Award-winning film “Coco,” “Plaza de la Familia, a Celebration of Coco” will begin Sept. 7 and run through Nov. 4, 2018. This immersive experience will feature live entertainment, storytelling and Mexican cuisine.

*Message, data and roaming rates may apply. Availability subject to handset limitations, and features may vary by handset, service provider or otherwise. Coverage and app stores not available everywhere. If you’re under 18, get your parents’ permission first. Separate terms and conditions apply. Some features require separate theme park admission.

Celebrate Autumn with WonderFall Flavors at Disney Springs

From the Disney Parks Blog:

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

As autumn draws near, get ready for a whole new host of seasonally-inspired eats with WonderFall Flavors at Disney Springs! Celebrate your favorite fall flavors with everything from harvest tacos and pumpkin desserts to hard ciders and autumn-inspired cocktails.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

This seasonal celebration includes over 14 restaurants and quick service locations throughout Disney Springs. This foodie guide will help you find all the flavors of fall!

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

YeSake

  • Harvest Fresh Bowl – a customizable bowl featuring sliced chicken breast, spinach, kale, carrot, dried cranberries, and sliced almonds tossed in a sweet Vidalia onion dressing. Also available as a wrap
  • Apple Cinnamon Sangria – complex flavors abound in this unique sangria featuring Japanese plum wine, orange, and lemon chilled down with frozen apples and finished with a sprinkle of sweet cinnamon

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Enzos Hideaway

  • Fall Harvest Soup – roasted apple and winter squash soup with spiced mascarpone cream and spiced candied nuts
  • Pumpkin White Russian – Hangar 1 Vodka, Monin Pumpkin Spice, heavy cream, with a sprinkled sugar rim glass

STK Orlando

  • WonderFall Promo Small Plate – pomegranate chili-glazed shrimp with butternut squash ginger purée and cranberry agrodolce
  • Pinot Grigio, Gabbiano, Delle Venezie, Italy – a light-bodied wine with a long finish that reveals hints of citrus and almonds

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Maria & Enzo’s

  • Fabulous Fall Butternut Squash Gnocchi – handmade ricotta gnocchi, roasted butternut squash, parmesan cream sauce, and pumpkin seed pesto
  • Medici Punch – Tuaca, Bulleit Bourbon, with charred cinnamon cider

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Morimoto Asia

  • Cantonese Style Crispy Berkshire Pork Belly – autumn 5-spice rub, maple bourbon koshu gastrique, and lychee cranberry chutney
  • Fall All Over – a smooth, decadent blend of Rémy Martin, Averna Amaro, lemon, apricot preserves, and a spritz of cinnamon

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar

  • Bavarian Roasted Pork Shanks – tender, bite-sized “pig wings” tossed in an Oktoberfest beer sauce and served with fried spatzle mac and cheese
  • Air Pirate’s Pretzels – Oktoberfest-themed flight of pretzels with spicy German mustard and beer cheese fondue
  • Autumn Smash – fall into the season with Captain Morgan Rum, lemon juice, peach nectar, simple syrup, and a touch of cinnamon

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

The Boathouse

  • Lucky Dux Oysters – half shell by the piece with green apple Champagne mignonette sauce
  • Bronzed Maple Coffee – whiskey, muddled candy, coffee, and maple whip cream garnished with a dusting of maple powder and candy

Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant

  • Pumpkin Crème Brûlée Trart – pumpkin crème brûlée baked in a pastry shell with fried cheesecake bites, caramel toile, and chocolate ganache
  • Pumpkin Baileys Irish Coffee – Baileys pumpkin spice with fresh espresso topped with whipped cream

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Paddlefish

  • Braised Pork Shoulder – apple cider reduction with autumn spices and cauliflower purée
  • Paddlefish Hard Apple – apple cider, bourbon, and ginger beer, garnished with a cinnamon stick

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

B.B. Wolf’s Sausage Co.

  • Smoked Sausage – with beer cheese sauce, bacon, and apple braised red cabbage on a Tuscan roll
  • Stella Artois Apple Cider – clean, crisp, and perfectly balanced with a little peach taste. Delicate apricot notes complement its fresh apple flavor

The Daily Poutine

  • Oktoberfest Poutine – stout gravy, bratwurst sausage, cheese curds, and cilantro
  • Ace Pineapple Cider – a balanced, crisp, natural offering made with fresh pineapple offering a sweet taste and tart finish. This pineapple cider was the first developed in the world

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Amorette’s Patisserie

  • Caramel Apricot Cobbler – Verrine with apricot topped with sugared almonds and buttermilk panna cotta
  • Fall Harvest Petit Cake – cinnamon and nutmeg chiffon cake, layered with Calvados salted caramel mousse, cranberry cherry pate de fruit, and roasted hazelnuts
  • Apple Cider Riesling Wine Slushie

The Polite Pig

  • Fall Harvest Taco – apple cranberry-glazed smoked pork belly, soft corn tortilla, pumpkin-apple slaw, pepitas, and picked onions
  • Apple Cider Whiskey Sour – straight rye whiskey, apple cider, lemon, brown sugar, and cinnamon

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

D-Luxe Burger

  • Apple Whisky Jam and Smoked Sausage Burger – smoked gouda, lettuce tomato, and caramelized onions
  • Pumpkin Shake – Pumpkin, caramel, and graham crackers swirled together for a tasty fall treat

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Additional Delights

  • 4R Cantina Barbacoa Food Truck – Pumpkin Spice Churro Balls
  • AristoCrepes – Brie Cheese and Bosc Pear Crepe with Orange Blossom Honey
  • Chicken Guy! – Cinnamon Apple Milkshake
  • Disney’s Candy Cauldron and Goofy’s Candy Co. – Fall-Inspired Treats and Specialty Apples
  • Outdoor Vending Carts – Salted Caramel Pretzels and Pumpkin Churros (select carts only)
  • Sprinkles – Pumpkin Cupcake (Sept 1-30), Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcake (Sept 10-23), Candy Apple Cupcake (Sept 24-Oct 7)

Fall-Inspired Hard Ciders at Dockside Margaritas and Select Outdoor Vending Carts

  • Angry Orchard Crisp Apple Cider: This crisp and refreshing cider mixes the sweetness of the apples with a subtle dryness for a balanced cider taste. The fresh apple aroma and slightly sweet, ripe apple flavor make this cider hard to resist.
  • Angry Orchard Rosé Cider: Made with rare, red flesh apples from France. Each apple is crisp, juicy and red to the core, adding an irresistible rosy blush and apple-forward taste with a refreshing dry finish.
  • Ayinger Oktober Fest-Märzen: Rich, amber-golden color. Deep, inviting, malty nose and bready, wonderful flavor that’s an ode to barley. Medium to big body, with a touch of warming alcohol on the finish.
  • Margarita Cider by 3 Daughters Brewing: Hard cider blended with lime juice and sea salt then aged in tequila barrels for a festive and unique flavor. This semi-sweet apple cider is tart and refreshing and perfect for Florida.
  • Pumpking Imperial Ale by Southern Tier Brewing Co.: This beer gives off hints of pumpkin pie and spice aromas on the nose. Huge flavors of genuine pumpkin pie, nutmeg, and cinnamon come through with a rich and creamy, yet crisp taste.
  • Samuel Adams OctoberFest: The first thing you notice when pouring this seasonal beer is the color. It has a deep golden amber hue which itself is reflective of the fall season. A malt lover’s dream, this beer offers a delicious harmony of flavors.

WonderFall Flavors at Disney Springs starts September 7 and runs through November 6. If you’re looking to get you fix of fall flavors, then this is definitely the place to be! Be sure to stop by the Disney Springs Welcome Center or any participating location to get your WonderFall Flavors booklet. This pocket-sized guide will help you chart your course and keep track of your tastings!

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