Category Archives: Orlando

Satisfy Your Taste Buds: New Foods Celebrating Tiana’s Bayou Adventure at Magic Kingdom

Get ready to savor the magic because Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is setting sail at Magic Kingdom Park on June 28, 2024! To add a sprinkle of culinary delight to this grand opening, the culinary wizards at Disney have rolled out an array of delectable treats inspired by none other than Princess Tiana from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ beloved “The Princess and the Frog.”

Image: Disney

Be prepared to indulge in a culinary journey featuring mouth-watering new offerings like Hot Honey Chicken with Sweet Potato Fries and beloved classics like Tiana’s Chantilly Cake. When the attraction opens its gates on June 28, make sure to come with an appetite for both adventure and these scrumptious bites.

Let’s dive right in and explore all the delicious details!

Magic Kingdom Park 

Golden Oak Outpost (Available June 28 through September 6) 

  • Hot Honey Chicken with Sweet Potato Fries: Chicken nuggets tossed in hot sauce-honey served with New Orleans olive relish and Cajun-spiced sweet potato fries (New)
  • Shrimp Gumbo with Sweet Potato Fries: Shrimp and Andouille sausage gumbo topped with Cajun-spiced sweet potato fries (New) 
  • Tiana’s Famous Beignets: Light, sweet, and fluffy beignets with powdered sugar and drizzled with honey

Pinocchio Village Haus (Available June 28 through September 6; mobile order available) 

  • Peach Cobbler: Cinnamon panna cotta, peach cobbler, brown sugar streusel, and whipped cream with a Tiana chocolate piece

Plaza Ice Cream Parlor (Available June 28 through September 6) 

  • Butter Pecan Praline Sundae: Butter pecan ice cream topped with praline sauce, spiced pecans, and whipped cream

The Plaza Restaurant (Available June 28 through September 6) 

  • Tiana’s Chantilly Cake: Vanilla chiffon cake, lemon chantilly, and fresh strawberries topped with a fondant flower and a Tiana chocolate piece

The Friar’s Nook and Outdoor Vending Locations near Cinderella Castle (Available starting June 28 while supplies last) 

  • Princess Tiana Sipper (New) (Limit two per person, per transaction) 

Main Street Confectionery (Available starting June 28) 

  • Tiana’s Sweet Popcorn Serenade: Caramel popcorn with praline pecans, M&M’S Caramel Chocolate Candies, pretzel pieces, and dark chocolatey drizzle (New)
  • Tiana’s Bayou Crunch: Cajun cheddar popcorn with M&M’S Peanut Butter Chocolate Candies, cheddar crackers, pretzel pieces, and white chocolatey drizzle (New) 
  • Green Apple Gummi Frogs (New)
  • Spicy Butter Toffee Peanuts (New)

NEW! Critter Co-Op (Coming soon) 

  • Green Apple Gummi Frogs (New)
  • Spicy Butter Toffee Peanuts (New)

Disney Springs 

Amorette’s Patisserie (Available June 28 through July 31; mobile order available) 

  • Over the Bayou Cake Bar: Vanilla cake bar (New)

Available at Various Locations Throughout Walt Disney World Resort (Available June 28 through September 6) 

  • Bayou Lavender Lemonade: Minute Maid Premium Lemonade with flavors of lavender inspired by New Orleans’ influence on American cuisine (New); available at the following locations:
    • Dockside Diner at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
    • The Plaza Restaurant and The Friar’s Nook at Magic Kingdom Park
    • Amorette’s Patisserie at Disney Springs (Available June 28 through July 31 only) 
    • Beaches Pool Bar and Courtyard Pool Bar at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
    • Mardi Grogs Pool Bar at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter

Crisped Rice Cereal Treat Lily Pad (New); available at the following locations:

  • Main Street Confectionery at Magic Kingdom Park
  • Big Top Souvenirs at Magic Kingdom Park
  • Goofy’s Candy Company at Disney Springs
  • Disney’s Candy Cauldron at Disney Springs
  • Zuri’s Sweets Shop at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
  • Screen Door General Store at Disney’s BoardWalk
  • Bayview Gifts at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Pecan Praline Caramel Apple (New); available at the following locations:

  • Main Street Confectionery at Magic Kingdom Park
  • Big Top Souvenirs at Magic Kingdom Park
  • Goofy’s Candy Company at Disney Springs
  • Disney’s Candy Cauldron at Disney Springs
  • Zuri’s Sweets Shop at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
  • Screen Door General Store at Disney’s BoardWalk
  • Bayview Gifts at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

And for those who want to bring the flavors of New Orleans into their own kitchens, we’ve got some fantastic news! Starting June 28, you can snag Mama Odie’s Hot Sauce and Dooky Chase’s iconic seasonings in varieties like Gumbo Base, Seafood Seasoning, Meat Seasoning, and Fried Chicken Seasoning. This marks the first time these seasonings will be available outside of the legendary Dooky Chase’s Restaurant, a culinary gem owned by the incomparable Leah Chase—one of the inspirations behind Princess Tiana’s character! You can find these items at the Emporium once it opens and at Critter Co-Op.

Coffee aficionados, rejoice! There’s also a new Joffrey’s blend to jazz up your mornings. The Disney Tiana Bayou Beignet blend is a medium-roasted coffee with delightful notes of honey and powdered sugar, creating a sweet sip that’s perfect for reminiscing on your park adventures. Pick up your own bag at Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea Co. at The Landing in Disney Springs or simply order it from Joffrey’s website.

Wow—so much deliciousness coming your way with the opening of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure! June 28 can’t come soon enough. 🍯☕️✨

(Note: All offerings are subject to change and availability.)

Embrace the Chills Earlier This Year: Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 2024 Kicks Off August 30

Halloween Horror Nights 2024
Image: Universal Orlando Resort

As summer fades and the shadows grow longer, an electrifying anticipation electrifies the air. It’s that time of year again, where thrill-seekers and horror fans alike mark their calendars for an event like no other. This fall, Universal Orlando Resort heralds the return of its legendary Halloween Horror Nights, and this year, the screams start earlier than ever. From August 30 through November 3, the park transforms into a nightmarish landscape, offering 48 select nights of unparalleled terror and spine-tingling excitement. Buckle up for a deep dive into what awaits you at Halloween Horror Nights 2024, where nightmares become reality and every corner promises an adrenaline rush.

A Festival of Frights Under the Floridian Skies

For those who revel in the adrenaline rush of fear, Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando is the ultimate fall destination. This year’s festivities kick off on August 30 and stretch till November 3, offering a longer season of terror at Universal Studios Florida. Imagine stepping into the heart of your darkest fears as the park becomes an immersive playground for those seeking the thrill of cinematic-quality haunted houses and eerie encounters.

Ten New Haunted Houses to Explore at Halloween Horror Nights 2024

Prepare to be intrigued and terrified in equal measure. This year features 10 all-new haunted houses, drawing inspiration from the darkest corners of cinematic history and the original, twisted creations of Universal’s own Entertainment team. Each house is designed to plunge guests into the midst of horror movie-quality settings, complete with horrifying characters and blood-curdling scenarios.

Stalked by Nightmarish Creatures in Five Scare Zones

The terror isn’t confined to the haunted houses alone. As you navigate the streets of Universal Studios Florida, find yourself surrounded by five unique scare zones. Here, hundreds of menacing creatures roam freely, ensuring your heart rate never settles. Every step could lead you into the grasp of an unimaginable horror, making each moment of your visit thrillingly unpredictable.

Beyond the Screams: Entertainment and Indulgence

Amidst the frights, Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights also offer moments of exhilaration and indulgence. Attend an energetic live show to catch your breath, only to have it taken away again by awe-inspiring performances. Treat yourself to sinfully delicious food and beverages inspired by the very horrors you’re there to experience. And for a souvenir of your brave adventure, visit the highly-themed Halloween Horror Nights Tribute Store to shop the latest event merchandise.

Exclusive Perks and Packages for the Ultimate Experience

To fully embrace the horror and exhilaration of your visit, consider the exclusive Halloween Horror Nights vacation package. This deal not only scores you one-night admission to the event but also includes accommodations at a Universal hotel and admission to all three Universal Orlando theme parks. Plus, Universal Orlando hotel guests enjoy benefits like Early Park Admission and a dedicated gate for faster entry into the Halloween Horror Nights.

Looking Behind the Screams at Halloween Horror Nights 2024

For those intrigued by the making of the magic and mayhem, Universal Orlando offers the Behind the Screams: Unmasking the Horror Tour. This daytime tour provides a lights-on glimpse into how Universal brings the scares to life, making for an unforgettable behind-the-scenes experience.

Merchandise to Mark the Occasion

Get in the spirit early with the launch of an all-new merchandise collection celebrating Universal Orlando as “Where Horror Lives”. The collection, available at select locations throughout the park and online, features exclusive designs that capture the essence of the horror that awaits.

As the details of this year’s Halloween Horror Nights continue to unfold, the excitement only grows. Stay tuned for more announcements, and prepare yourself for a season filled with terror, entertainment, and unforgettable memories. Mark your calendars for Halloween Horror Nights 2024 and get ready to face your fears at Universal Orlando Resort.

Ready to book your Universal Orlando Resort vacation to experience Halloween Horror Nights 2024? Request your complimentary quote today at

A Complete Guide to Meeting Characters at Universal Orlando Resort

Step into the magical world of Universal Orlando Resort, where beyond the pulse-pounding rides and dazzling attractions, awaits an array of beloved characters ready to make your visit unforgettable. From timeless favorites to modern icons, the parks are alive with opportunities to meet and greet your favorite personalities. Join us as we embark on a journey through Universal Studios Florida and Universal Islands of Adventure, discovering the enchanting encounters awaiting around every corner. Whether you’re seeking adventure, mystery, or simply a warm hug from a cherished character, Universal Orlando Resort has something special in store for every visitor.

Pro Tip: Stay ahead of the excitement by checking designated meet and greet times on the Official Universal Orlando Resort app.

Universal Studios Florida

Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Gang

Location: Hollywood

Join the Mystery Gang, led by the ever-lovable Scooby-Doo, as they make regular appearances in the Hollywood area with their iconic Mystery Machine. Stop by to unravel the latest Universal mystery they’re tackling, and don’t miss out on some Scooby Snacks along the way!

Doc Brown

Location: Hollywood

Great Scott! Prepare to be amazed as Doc Brown from Back to the Future traverses Hollywood Boulevard, immersed in his latest scientific marvels. Rumor has it, he’s on the lookout for adventurous souls eager to join him in his daring experiments. Will you be the next to step into the world of time-traveling wonders?


Location: Hollywood and New York

Between Marilyn’s captivating shows with her Diamond Bellas, located near Revenge of the Mummy, you might catch her taking a leisurely stroll down the illustrious Hollywood Walk of Fame. Keep an eye out, as she might serenade you with a tune or even impart a mini acting lesson, perfect for aspiring stars of tomorrow!


Location: Hollywood

He’s the ghost with the most! Speak his name three times and behold, he materializes on Hollywood Boulevard. Keep your wits about you, for this mischievous trickster is often spotted loitering outside the Horror Make-Up Show.

Hello Kitty

Location: Hollywood (inside the Hello Kitty store)

Indulge in a delightfully sweet meet and greet with the one and only Hello Kitty, adorned in her signature bright-pink attire. And for those die-hard fans, don’t forget to grab an adorable headband from the Hello Kitty store to perfectly complement your photo op with the iconic character!

DreamWorks Characters

Location: Central Park (near NBC Media Plaza)

Embark on a whimsical journey with our beloved DreamWorks friends, gathered near Central Park to spread joy and laughter. Shrek and Fiona extend warm greetings from Far Far Away Land, while the swashbuckling Puss in Boots shares tales from his latest escapades, occasionally joined by his adventurous counterpart, Kitty Softpaws. Madagascar’s Alex, Gloria, and King Julian inject the scene with their infectious energy, while Poppy and Branch from Trolls enchant visitors with their delightful dance routines. Join the festivities and make unforgettable memories with these iconic characters!

Location: Illumination Theatre

Explore the vibrant world of Minion Land and step into Illumination Theater for an exclusive chance to meet and greet beloved characters from Illumination films. Rub shoulders with the lovable Minions, the cunning Gru, and his delightful daughters Margo, Edith, and Agnes, alongside characters from the hit film “Sing”. Keep your eyes peeled for a certain fan-favorite “Despicable Me” supervillain, easily recognizable in his distinctive orange attire. Get ready for an unforgettable encounter that’s sure to leave you saying, “OH YEAH!”


Location: Alley near TRANSFORMERS: The Ride 3-D

Attention, recruits! Get ready to embark on an epic encounter with the Bots from Transformers! Positioned next to TRANSFORMERS: The Ride 3-D, keep your eyes peeled for appearances by Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, and Megatron, who grace Universal Studios Florida at various times to interact with humans. With the characters rotating randomly, brace yourself for the heroic presence of Bumblebee and Optimus Prime, or the formidable presence of Megatron. Are you prepared for the adventure that awaits?

The Simpsons

Location: Hollywood Area

Indulge in a delicious Lard Lad donut and make your way to The Simpsons Ride for a memorable encounter with your favorite Springfield residents. Join Homer, Marge, Bart, and Lisa Simpson, along with Krusty the Clown and Sideshow Bob, for a delightful experience straight out of Springfield, U.S.A. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of The Simpsons!

SpongeBob SquarePants & Friends

Location: SpongeBob StorePants

Welcome to the SpongeBob StorePants, where “F is for friends who do stuff together!” Immerse yourself in the whimsical world of Bikini Bottom as you meet and greet SpongeBob, Patrick Star, and Squidward. Get ready for a fun-filled adventure alongside these beloved characters from the deep sea!

Knight Bus Operator

Location: London

The Knight Bus Operator is always eager to share insider tips about London sightseeing with visitors. And don’t miss out on the animated shrunken head that accompanies the operator—it promises a unique and entertaining experience every time you pay a visit!

Mummy Pharaohs

Location: New York near Revenge of the Mummy

Are they also on the hunt for our souls? Perhaps, but fear not, for they’re also here to strike a pose! Strike your most chilling stance as the Mummy pharaohs loom overhead, capturing a spine-tingling photo memory that you’ll cherish forever!

Hashtag the Panda

Location: Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon

Step into the spotlight with the greatest dancing panda bear of all time! Bust out your best dance moves and strike a pose alongside this iconic figure, who holds a special place in The Tonight Show’s illustrious history. Get ready for a photo op that’s sure to be a highlight of your visit!

Location: Near Mel’s Drive-In

Come on, let’s go meet Dora! With her trusty map and backpack by her side, Dora has journeyed to Universal Studios Florida and is excited to meet fellow explorers like you!

Universal Islands of Adventure

Marvel Super Heroes and Marvel Villains

Location: Marvel Super Hero Island

The iconic superheroes from the pages of comics have assembled at Marvel Super Hero Island not only to combat crime but also to strike a pose with you! Join forces with Spider-Man, Captain America, Cyclops, Wolverine, Storm, and Rogue, and feel like you’re part of the team. For those with a penchant for mischief, keep an eye out for iconic Marvel Villains like Doctor Doom and The Green Goblin, prowling the streets in search of allies to aid their sinister schemes.

PRO TIP: If you’re a die-hard Marvel superfan craving more time with your favorite heroes, don your own superhero attire and don’t miss the Marvel Character Dinner at Cafe 4 in Islands of Adventure!

Dr. Seuss Characters

Location: Suess Landing

Embark on a whimsical journey to meet beloved Dr. Seuss characters, including The Cat in the Hat, The Lorax, Sam I Am, Thing One and Thing Two, and the Grinch. Discover these iconic characters scattered throughout the land and catch them live in the delightful show “Oh! The Stories You’ll Hear,” located next to All the Books You Can Read. Get ready for a Seuss-tastic adventure filled with joy and wonder!

Blue, the Velociraptor

Location: Raptor Encounter in Jurassic Park

Ever dreamt of coming face to face with a dinosaur? Well, at Raptor Encounter, your dreams can come true as you meet Blue the Velociraptor from the Jurassic World films! While this “clever girl” is trained, she’s still quite feisty, so keep an eye on your fingers and toes during your interaction. With the right approach, you might just earn the title of the next qualified Raptor trainer!

P.S. Keep an eye out for resident baby Raptors, occasionally brought out by our skilled Raptor trainers to help them acclimate to human interaction. It’s a fantastic opportunity, especially for those guests who might find the fierceness of an adult Raptor a bit intimidating.

Kung Fu Panda Characters

Location: The Lost Continent

Prepare for an epic encounter with the Dragon Warriors Po and Tigress from the Kung Fu Panda movies, who have graciously extended an invitation to meet future kung fu champions at The Lost Continent. If fortune smiles upon you and they happen to be there during your visit, consider yourself truly fortunate!

King Julian

Location: The Lost Continent

Besides Universal Studios Florida, this lively lemur can also be spotted in The Lost Continent! King Julian reigns supreme here, hosting energetic dance parties throughout the day. Afterward, guests can capture a moment with him and strike a pose!

Popeye and Olive Oyl

Location: Toon Lagoon

“I am what I am, and that’s all what I am!” Get ready to meet Popeye the Sailor Man and his sweetheart Olive Oyl as they make appearances in various locations around Toon Lagoon. You can often find them near Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges and throughout the vibrant streets of Toon Lagoon.

Hogwarts Express Conductor

Location: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade

Step into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter — Hogsmeade and be greeted by none other than the Hogwarts Express Conductor, the friendly face that welcomes you to this enchanting snow-capped village. With a wealth of knowledge about all the wonders Hogsmeade has to offer, he’s always delighted to meet you for a magical photo op!

Students of Beauxbatons and Durmstrang

Location: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade

Witness the dazzling spectacle as the students of Beauxbatons Academy of Magic and Durmstrang Institute for Magical Study grace the Triwizard Spirit Rally with their vibrant procession of magic. After the mesmerizing show, they’ll linger to offer photo opportunities, welcoming wizards and non-wizards alike to capture memories of the magical moment.


Professor Doctor Penelope Tibeaux-Tinker Toothsome & Jacques

Location: The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen

Let’s not overlook the beloved characters at Toothsome! While you savor the delectable and diverse offerings at the restaurant, don’t miss the chance to spot Penelope Toothsome and Jacques. Penelope, the culinary genius, delights in sharing tales of her travels, which inspired the mouthwatering recipes featured in this establishment. And alongside her is her loyal robot companion and co-entrepreneur, Jacques, ever ready to assist in creating culinary magic.

Which characters at Universal Orlando Resort are you most excited to meet?

Universal Mardi Gras 2024 Celebration at Universal Orlando Resort

Embark on a captivating journey as Universal Orlando Resort transforms into a celebration like no other—Universal Mardi Gras: International Flavors of Carnaval! From February 3 to April 7, 2024, let the good times roll with a vibrant Mardi Gras party featuring a global feast of sweet, savory, and spicy dishes inspired by New Orleans and iconic Carnaval flavors. Enjoy a dazzling Mardi Gras parade with new, detailed floats, and savor live concerts on select nights by top music artists like DJ Khaled, Ava Max, Luis Fonsi, and more. The best part? You can revel in all the excitement with your regular theme park admission to Universal Studios Florida.

Get ready for an unforgettable concert series this year with ten live performances from chart-topping artists spanning various music genres! Groove to the beats of GRAMMY-winning sensation DJ Khaled, the talent behind the chart-topping hit “Sweet but Psycho” – Ava Max, and the five-time Latin GRAMMY-winning artist Luis Fonsi. Join us on select nights after the Mardi Gras parade at the Music Plaza stage, right in front of the exhilarating Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster. Check out the complete concert lineup below!

February 3Walker Hayes
February 10The All-American Rejects
February 17Elle King
February 24Barenaked Ladies
March 2DJ Khaled
March 9Ava Max
March 10Queen Latifah
March 16Luis Fonsi
March 17Zedd

Immerse yourself in the magic of this year’s Mardi Gras parade as it comes to life with a captivating theme celebrating the elements – Earth, Wind, Fire, Water, the Sun, and the Moon. Experience the enchantment with six new, intricately designed parade floats that complement Universal’s classic New Orleans-inspired lineup. Join the celebration with high-energy music, a myriad of performers adorned in stunning costumes, and an abundance of beads for an unforgettable parade experience!

Embark on a global gastronomic adventure at Mardi Gras, where you can indulge in over 60 delectable tasting-sized items inspired by Carnaval celebrations worldwide. Traverse the park-wide celebration to discover kiosks offering mouthwatering culinary delights from New Orleans to Spain to China and beyond. Delight your taste buds with classics like the Fried Green Tomato Po’boy and irresistible Beignets, savor Chicken Schnitzel from Germany, indulge in Chilaquiles Verdes from Mexico, and explore a diverse array of flavors that promise a festival of international tastes.

Immerse yourself in the full splendor of Universal Mardi Gras by choosing to stay at one of Universal’s eight extraordinary hotels. Guests are treated to exclusive benefits, including Early Park Admission and complimentary transportation to the theme parks. Elevate your stay with unique Mardi Gras offerings at all Universal Orlando hotels, featuring delectable treats like Crawfish and Andouille Sausage Egg Roll at Islands Dining Room at Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Mardi Gras Empanadas at Amatista Cookhouse at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, Jambalaya at Beach Break Café at Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites, and more.

Unlock the magic of Universal Mardi Gras with your regular theme park admission to Universal Studios Florida. For an even more enchanting experience, you can seize one of these extraordinary offers to revel in Universal Mardi Gras and explore all the wonders of Universal Orlando’s theme parks:

  • Indulge in two additional days of free admission to Universal Studios Florida and Universal Islands of Adventure by purchasing a 2-Park, 2-Day ticket or 3-Park, 2-Day ticket, giving you a total of four days of theme park excitement
  • Make the most of your vacation time with the 25% discount on a 3-Park, 5-Night Vacation Package. This package includes a 5-night stay at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Universal’s Aventura Hotel, or Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, along with a 3-Park, 5-Day Park-to-Park ticket for visits to Universal Studios Florida, Universal Islands of Adventure, and Universal Volcano Bay

Are you ready to experience Universal Mardi Gras? Call or email Siera today at to book your Universal Orlando Resort vacation!

How to Get the Best Value from Your Disney Dining Plan at Disney World

How to Get the Best Value from Your Disney Dining Plan at Disney World
8 ways to maximize the Disney dining plan

Hooray! As of today, dining plans are FINALLY back at the Walt Disney World Resort!

Let’s be honest, food at Disney World is very expensive. You can certainly save money by bringing food, drinks, and snacks with you into the parks, but if you’re planning to purchase food in the parks, you may be wise to consider one of the Disney dining plans. Disney dining plans are available to guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel. You can currently choose from the quick service dining plan and Disney dining plan when you book a vacation package at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel.

Character Dining

Character meals are some of the most expensive meals at Disney World. You can spend over $50 per person for a dinner with Mickey Mouse and friends at Chef Mickey’s! This is a great use of a Disney dining plan. Plus, your whole family will love having characters come visit with you at your table for photos and autographs. You can review all of the character dining experiences here.

Use Snack Credits Wisely

We typically don’t recommend spending snack credits on items less than $5. If you’d like a soda or bottle of water, it’s often better to purchase these out of pocket. Some of our favorite snacks are ice cream, cupcakes, funnel cakes, pretzels, popcorn, and breadsticks. You can even enjoy almost all Starbucks beverages with just a snack credit! So, go ahead and add that extra pump of syrup… it’s still only one snack credit!

Consider Meal Times

Breakfast is a less expensive meal than lunch or dinner, especially when it comes to table service meals. If possible, we recommend booking lunch or dinner for your table service meals as they would normally cost more if you were paying out of pocket. You’ll also get dessert included with your table service meal during lunch or dinner only. If you’re on one of the dining plans that only include two meals per day, breakfast is also an easy one to “skip.” You can use your snack credits to cover that meal or even pack cereal bars from home for an on-the-go meal.

8 ways to get the best value from the Disney dining plan

Epcot Festivals

If you are visiting during any of the annual festivals at Epcot, plan to use as many snack credits there as possible. All of the festivals offer snacks and drinks at the booths set up throughout the World Showcase, and even Future World, at times. These snacks can often be $8 or more when purchased out of pocket so they are a great value on the Disney dining plan.

The Festival of the Arts runs select dates in January and February. The Flower and Garden Festival usually runs from March through May. The Food and Wine Festival usually kicks off at the end of August and runs through mid-November. The Festival of the Holidays runs from Thanksgiving through December.

Dining Packages

Who doesn’t love dinner and a show? There are a few dining packages available with the Disney dining plan. You can enjoy a reserved viewing area for a parade or show with the cost of your meal. These dining packages cost the same number of credits that you would have spent otherwise. You can choose from:

  • Fantasmic! Dining Package at Hollywood & Vine, Mama Melrose’s, and Hollywood Brown Derby
  • Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade Dining Package at Tony’s Town Square
  • Candlelight Processional Dining Package at select Epcot restaurants
  • Garden Rocks Dining Package at select Epcot restaurants
  • Eat to the Beat Dining Package at select Epcot restaurants
  • Disney on Broadway Concert Series Dining Package at select Epcot restaurants

Specialty Drinks

You can treat yourself to a specialty drink with your table service meal at no additional cost. Alcohol is now included with the Disney dining plan. Or, if you prefer a kid-friendly drink, there are often specialty drinks available for guests of all ages. Just ask your server what options are available at each location.

best ways to use the Disney dining plan

Use Your Resort Refillable Drink Mugs

All four of the Disney dining plans include one resort refillable drink mug per person, age 3+. They can be refilled not only at the resort that your family is staying at, but ANY Walt Disney World Resort Hotel. You can fill your mug before you leave the resort in the morning, enjoy time by the pool with it, or even leave a park to refill your mug at a neighboring resort. You can get soda, Powerade, coffee, and tea in your mug.

Spend Leftover Credits on Prepackaged Snacks

If you happen to have any leftover snack credits at the end of your visit, be sure to spend them before you leave! All Disney dining plan credits are available until midnight on the day that you check out. You can find a variety of prepackaged snacks (or drinks) at the parks and resorts. If you aren’t visiting a park, stop by Goofy’s Candy Company Disney Springs. Goofy’s has a line of Disney gummies, jelly beans, licorice, and more that travel well. There are also prepackaged rice krispy treats you can take home.

You can keep track of your Disney dining plan credits in the My Disney Experience app or at the bottom of your receipt. It will automatically update each time an entitlement is used to reflect your remaining credits.

What are your favorite ways to use the Disney Dining Plan?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. We may make a small commission from purchases made through these links. Thank you for supporting our small business!

Free Dining Returns to Disney World Exclusively for Disney+ Subscribers in 2024


For Disney+ Subscribers – GET A FREE DINING PLAN when you purchase a non-discounted 4-night/4-day Walt Disney Travel Company package that includes a room at select Disney Resort hotels and tickets with a Park Hopper Option. For arrivals most nights 7/1–9/30/24*.


Experience the same legendary detail, service and storytelling found in Walt Disney World® Theme Parks when you book a stay at a Disney Resort hotel. From unique accommodations to distinctive dining options, themed rooms and more, Disney Resort hotels offer Guests a variety of options that exemplify the Disney Difference. 

As a Guest, you’ll enjoy: 

  • Early Theme Park Entry: Stay in the magic at a Disney Resort hotel and enjoy 30 minutes early entry to any Theme Park every day! With early theme park entry, you can enjoy select attractions, shops and dining before regular hours. This benefit is offered on each day of your stay—in any park, subject to capacity. For early Theme Park entry, you’ll need Disney MagicMobile service or a Key to the World Card, as well as valid admission and a Theme park reservation for the same park on the same day.
  • Extended Evening Theme Park Hours: When you stay at a Disney Deluxe Resort or Disney Deluxe Villa Resort, you’ll enjoy extended evening hours on select nights in select Theme Parks. For extended evening hours, you’ll need Disney MagicMobile service or a Key to the World Card, as well as valid admission.
  • Close Proximity to the Action: Enjoy the ease and convenience of getting around Walt Disney World Resort with fun transportation options. Zip about on the world-famous monorail, fly high on Disney Skyliner and cruise along serene waterways aboard a water taxi. Some of the Disney Resort hotels are even within walking distance of a Theme Park. 
  • Enchanting Amenities: Walt Disney World Resort hotels boast one-of-a-kind features that will immerse you in the worlds of classic Disney tales—including themed pools with slides, poolside activities, delicious dining experiences and much more. 

* Proof of Disney+ subscription is required. This offer is only available to Disney+ Subscribers residing in the United States and Canada. The Disney+ Subscriber must stay in the room. The number of packages allocated for this offer is limited. Everyone in the same room must be on the same package. Offer excludes select room types. Tickets valid beginning on the date of check-in and must be used within a limited number of days, depending on length of ticket. Cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion. Advance reservations required. Walt Disney Travel Company CST#1022229-50

To book your magical Walt Disney World Resort vacation, call Siera today at (734) 771-1290 or email her at

Five Reasons to Book a Universal Orlando Resort Vacation Package

Did you know that you can book a completely customizable Universal Orlando Resort vacation package and receive exclusive benefits such as Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter?! With a Universal Orlando Resort vacation package, you’ll receive the lowest package prices, exclusive gifts and services…all at no additional cost to you! Plus, when you book with us, you are booking with the best! Our agency, Destinations in Florida Travel, has been recognized by Universal Orlando Resort as the 2010 & 2011 & 2012 Travel Agency of the Year. Here are the top five reasons to book a Universal Orlando Resort vacation package:

Guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter ($9.97 Value)

When you book your Universal Orlando Resort vacation package with us, you will receive a Guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter ($9.97 value). Although we normally sell this ebook, you will receive a FREE copy at no additional cost to you! This is the ULTIMATE guide to planning and visiting Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida.  This guide is a fun way to get excited about your visit to Universal Orlando or if you are just a Harry Potter fan!  This guide showcases the best of both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, all for less than the price of a mug of Butterbeer!

Universal Perks

Universal Perks are are weekly emails exclusively for our guests who book their Universal Orlando Resort vacation package with us.

Each email will include tips and fun (including activities to do at home and jokes) from Universal Orlando Resort. These emails will also help keep you and your family excited about your upcoming Universal Orlando vacation.

Insider Knowledge, Tips and Tricks, Dining Reservations & More

Do you know how to skip the standby line at most attractions? Do you know where to find the best restaurants at Universal Orlando Resort? What about ways to save time and money on your vacation? We can help answer all of these questions and so many more to help you vacation like a true VIP. You won’t have to worry about anything, except having fun!

Hogwarts Letter and More Surprises

Have you always dreamed of receiving your own Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry acceptance letter? We will send you your very own Hogwarts acceptance letter, map of Universal Orlando Resort and even more themed goodies to help build excitement for your visit.

Free Butterbeer Ice Cream

Butterbeer is an iconic treat from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, originally described in the Harry Potter book series and later brought to life on the big screen through the film series. There are six different ways to enjoy butterbeer inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort: hot, cold, frozen, soft serve ice cream, potted cream or fudge. One of our favorite ways to indulge in a butterbeer treat is soft serve butterbeer ice cream from Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour in Diagon Alley. Plus, when you book your Universal Orlando Resort vacation package with Siera by January 31, 2024, you will have the opportunity to try one FREE butterbeer ice cream per person.

BONUS: Just looking for park tickets? We can help with that, too! You’ll save both time and money by purchasing them in advance, rather than waiting until you arrive. Plus, all of our tickets also include early park admission at no additional cost to you! Learn more about how to add a day at Universal to your Walt Disney World Resort vacation.

You can take your vacation to the next level at Universal Orlando Resort™. With three amazing theme parks, including an incredible water theme park, your days will be filled with thrills and adventure beyond your imagination. It’s the only place where you can experience the magic and excitement of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ at two parks, connected by the Hogwarts™ Express which you can experience with a Park-to-Park admission ticket. Plus, breathtaking on-site hotels will put you right in the middle of it all. Universal CityWalk™ offers a dazzling variety of dining and entertainment options from early in the morning until the wee hours of the evening. A Universal Orlando Resort vacation will be days and nights of endless fun for every member of the family. Vacation beyond anything you’ve experienced before at Universal Orlando Resort™.

Are you ready to book your Universal Orlando Resort vacation package? Contact Siera, a Universal Orlando vacation planning wizard, today at (734) 771-1290 or for more information.

Planning your Universal Orlando Resort vacation? Don’t miss these helpful articles, too!

Unlocking Unforgettable Journeys: 4 Reasons Why Using a Travel Advisor Is a Smart Choice

In an era of seemingly endless information and DIY travel planning, the invaluable role of a travel advisor shines brighter than ever. These experts in the realm of exploration offer a wealth of benefits that transcend mere convenience. From crafting tailored itineraries to accessing exclusive deals, navigating complex logistics, and providing insider insights, the reasons to collaborate with a travel advisor are both compelling and diverse. In this fast-paced world, where time is precious and experiences are treasured, the guidance of a skilled travel advisor transforms mere trips into unforgettable journeys.

Some people still sadly associate using a travel advisor with paying more money, when in actual fact – it’s quite the opposite. From getting you the best seats on the plane to working behind the scenes to ensure your vacation goes off without a hitch – after using a great travel advisor once, I personally guarantee you’ll be hooked!

Save Time

Ask yourself, how much is your time worth? Expedia’s research indicates the average American spends 22.95 hours booking a trip in the 6 weeks before departure. That’s one hour a night for nearly three weeks or nearly three entire workdays. Is this time you can afford to lose? 

Save Money

Travel advisors often have access to wholesale rates and exclusive deals that the general public does not. As such, they can pass these savings on to you – their client. Most advisors make their money through commissions paid by hotels, tour operators, cruise lines, etc – not through adding on extra charges for their clients. Travel advisors who do charge fees are charging for the trip planning process – remember those 22.95 hours I referenced in the paragraph above? They’re working, researching, and customizing the perfect journey for you, and some charge fees for this type of work. 

Planning travel has never been more complicated than in 2021 and beyond. From quarantine restrictions to PCR testing, an expert agent will save you countless hours in research and logistics alone – that’s worth its weight in gold. 

Avoid Hassles

Booking with a third-party site may feel like the obvious choice, but websites like Expedia can’t connect the dots. Sure, you could book a few nights at a hotel, but can you arrange the car service, the late-night check-in, the adjoining rooms next door to each other? Travel advisors take the hassle out of the trip planning process and can make it fun again. 

By now we’ve probably all heard horror stories of trips booked immediately before Covid, and cancellations or refunds that went awry. When you book with a travel advisor and (for whatever reason) you’re unable to go on your trip – you don’t have to lift a finger. It won’t be you waiting on hold with the airline, or trying to argue about a credit vs a refund. Your travel advisor has your back and is looking out for your best interests every step of the way, and that includes when things go sideways.

Check into your hotel and your room is not to your liking? Your travel advisor often has special relationships with hotels, and they can (hopefully) rectify the situation seamlessly, without you having to get on the phone and ask for the manager. 

Enjoy Upgrades & Connections

Everyone loves a good upgrade. From complimentary breakfast to room upgrades, most travel advisors can score their client’s great perks when they book with them. In addition, travel advisors are well connected. A travel advisor’s job is to be the expert, and this means traveling to countless destinations, and building relationships with hoteliers, tour operators, even restauranteurs. Don’t discount their ability to score you that hard-to-book seat at a new restaurant, or surprise you with an exclusive behind-the-scenes experience while on a tour.

Want to learn more about what I do for my clients as a professional travel advisor? Schedule a complimentary consultation with me today!

Unwrap Wanderlust: Black Friday Travel Deals Await!

Embrace the spirit of wanderlust and dive into a world of exciting adventures with my exclusive Black Friday and Cyber Monday travel deals! From enchanting Disney getaways to sun-soaked beach escapes and thrilling cruises, I’ve curated an array of tantalizing offers that promise unforgettable memories. With limited-time discounts, special incentives, and magical perks, there’s no better time to plan your next dream vacation. Join us as we unwrap these sensational Black Friday travel deals and make your travel dreams a reality!

Disney Destinations

Image: Disney

Book a new Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney or Aulani vacation with me and receive a Disney Gift Card!

To unwrap this special offer, secure your booking with a deposit before November 30th, and let the magic begin! This exclusive incentive is valid for new bookings only. 

Don’t miss out on this enchanting opportunity to add an extra touch of magic to your next Disney adventure! Contact me today to book your Disney getaway! 

Universal Orlando Resort

Image: Universal Orlando Resort

Experience all the amazing thrills Universal Orlando Resort’s three incredible theme parks have to offer and save big!

  • 5-Night Hotel Accommodations at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Universal’s Aventura Hotel, or Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
  • 3-Park 5-Day Park-to-Park Vacation Package Promo Ticket to Universal Studios Florida, Universal Islands of Adventure, and Universal Volcano Bay each day
  • Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ and Universal Volcano Bay up to one hour before the park opens (valid theme park admission required; select attractions)
  • Complimentary transportation and walking paths to Universal’s theme parks and Universal CityWalk
  • Complimentary delivery of merchandise purchased throughout the resort to your hotel
  • Resort-wide charging privileges with your room key card

Plus, as my exclusive gift to you, you’ll receive Gringotts™ bank notes which can be used for purchases within Diagon Alley™ and Hogsmeade™ and at selected locations throughout Universal Orlando Resort when you book a new vacation package with me by November 30, 2023.

Virgin Voyages

Image: Virgin Voyages

Save on an award-winning, exclusively adult experience on Virgin Voyages with 30% off select sailings through 2024 — including holiday Caribbean getaways— plus up to $600 in free drinks for an extra sip of celebration. But don’t wait — this (very) limited-time offer ends on November 26th! Book your cruise today

Sandals and Beaches Resorts

Image: Sandals Resorts

Give the Gift of Blue and unwrap your escape to the Caribbean! Let the extraordinary blues of the ocean and sky lead the way to everlasting memories on your next Sandals Resorts getaway with up to $750 Air Credit + up to $250 Resort Credit when booking a stay of 7 nights or longer plus flights. Learn more here

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line

Celebrate your best Cyber Monday ever with unbeatable savings on an unbelievable adventure. Uncover hidden ruins in Cozumel. Savor mezes in a taverna in Mykonos. Or find limitless ways to fill your days with endless thrills and chill at Perfect Day at CocoCay. Right now, you can score our biggest savings of the year! Take up to $750 off instantly, plus 30% off each member of your travel squad. And the deals don’t stop there — because for a limited time, kids sail free!

Palace Resorts in Mexico & Jamaica

Image: Palace Resorts

The best discount of the year has arrived! Book your vacation to Mexico and Jamaica with up to 50% off* an all-inclusive stay of 3 or more nights, plus 1,000 USD Resort Credit as a gift**, round-trip airport transfer*** and more. The vacation you deserve is possible now. 

  • *Minimum 3-night stay required. The last day of check out must be December 20, 2024.
  • **Resort Credit: A maximum of 200 USD can be applied toward SPA services at Palace Resorts and Moon Palace Resorts, 330 USD at Moon Palace The Grand-Cancun; and 500 USD at Le Blanc Spa Resorts. A 16% service fee applies to services paid with Resort Credit.
  • ***Free Airport Transfers are applicable to stays of 4 nights or more, are on a shared basis and are not applicable to Cozumel Palace.
  • ****Applicable at family resorts for kids and teens aged 17 and under

Book: November 20 – 26, 2023
Stay: November 21 – December 20, 2024

Norwegian Cruise Line

Image: Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Black Friday Sale is here! For a limited-time, you can take advantage of 50% Off and $250 Free with CruiseFirst on ALL cruises for your dream vacation, whether that’s surfing in Hawai’i, hiking to Alaska’s glaciers or touring ancient ruins in the Greek Isles. Come aboard Norwegian’s award-winning ships and enjoy Free Unlimited Open Bar, Free Specialty Dining and much more! Take advantage of incredible savings on all ships, all destinations, all over the world. But hurry, this offer won’t last!

You can also check out all my favorite Amazon finds here!

As our special Black Friday and Cyber Monday travel deals draw to a close, we hope you’ve discovered the perfect journey to fuel your wanderlust. From the magic of Disney to the serenity of beachside retreats and the allure of cruising, these limited-time offers were crafted with your dream getaway in mind. If you’ve found your ideal adventure among these exclusive deals, don’t hesitate to reach out and secure your spot. Remember, these offers are fleeting, so seize the opportunity to embark on an extraordinary travel experience. Thank you for exploring these travel treasures with us, and we can’t wait to create unforgettable memories together!

Experience the Magic: A Comprehensive Guide to Universal Orlando Resort

Universal Orlando Resort isn’t just an amusement park; it’s a world of wonder, adventure, and magic waiting to be explored. Nestled in the heart of central Florida, this sprawling entertainment complex promises an unforgettable vacation for thrill-seekers, Harry Potter enthusiasts, and families alike. From the spellbinding Wizarding World of Harry Potter to an array of exhilarating attractions, here’s your ultimate guide to Universal Orlando Resort so you can make the most of your visit.

Universal Orlando Resort Overview

Spanning over 840 acres, Universal Orlando Resort comprises three theme parks: Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay. Beyond the parks, the resort offers a plethora of dining, shopping, and entertainment options at Universal CityWalk.

On-Site Hotels: An Unrivaled Stay Experience

Staying on-site at Universal Orlando Resort comes with a plethora of perks, making it an enticing option for visitors. Let’s delve into the benefits of lodging within the resort.

  1. Proximity and Convenience: On-site hotels place you closer to the action, allowing easy access to the parks. Some even offer complimentary transportation, ensuring hassle-free commuting.
  2. Early Park Admission: Enjoy early access to select attractions at the parks—an exclusive benefit for on-site hotel guests. Beat the crowds and make the most of your visit by getting a head start on the day’s adventures.
  3. Themed Accommodations: Universal’s on-site hotels offer diverse themes, from luxurious resorts to family-friendly options. Experience the opulence of Hard Rock Hotel, the retro vibe of Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, or the tropical escape of Loews Royal Pacific Resort.
  4. Resort-Wide Charging Privileges: Conveniently charge purchases made within the resort to your room key, eliminating the need to carry cash or cards around the parks.
  5. Package Delivery: Worried about carrying souvenirs all day? Fear not! On-site hotel guests can have their purchases delivered directly to their hotel room.
  6. Dining and Entertainment: Each on-site hotel offers an array of dining options and entertainment activities, ensuring a complete vacation experience without leaving the resort.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: A Magical Adventure

Now, let’s step into the enchanting world of Harry Potter, a highlight of Universal Orlando Resort that captivates fans and newcomers alike.

Diagon Alley (Universal Studios Florida)

  1. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts: Embark on a thrilling multi-dimensional ride through Gringotts Bank, featuring encounters with characters like Harry, Ron, and Hermione, and encounters with trolls and dragons.
  2. Ollivanders Wand Shop: Experience the magic of wand selection as the wand chooses the wizard. Don’t miss the interactive experiences where spells come to life.
  3. Knockturn Alley: Wander through this dimly lit street where dark magic lurks. Experience Borgin and Burkes, home to peculiar artifacts and sinister objects.
  4. The Hogwarts Express: Board the iconic train to travel between Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. The journey itself is an immersive experience, complete with encounters with characters from the wizarding world.

Hogsmeade (Islands of Adventure)

  1. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey: Explore Hogwarts Castle and embark on an exhilarating adventure with Harry and friends. This state-of-the-art ride combines physical sets and cutting-edge technology for an immersive experience.
  2. Flight of the Hippogriff: A family-friendly coaster that takes you on a gentle flight above Hagrid’s hut, offering scenic views of the castle grounds.
  3. Hogsmeade Village: Immerse yourself in the quaint streets of Hogsmeade, where shops like Honeydukes and Zonko’s Joke Shop offer magical treats and quirky goods.
  4. Triwizard Spirit Rally: Witness the excitement as students from Hogwarts, Beauxbatons, and Durmstrang participate in a spirited performance with music, dance, and special effects.

Tips for Making the Most of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter:

  • Arrive Early: Head straight to the Wizarding World as soon as the park opens to avoid long lines and experience popular attractions with minimal wait times. If you’re staying at Universal Orlando Resort hotel, be sure to take advantage of early park admission!
  • Interactive Wands: Consider purchasing an interactive wand that allows you to cast spells at designated locations throughout the lands, bringing the magic to life.
  • Explore Every Detail: Take your time to soak in the immersive environments. From storefronts to interactive elements, every corner holds hidden gems and references to the beloved series.


A trip to Universal Orlando Resort promises an immersive journey through thrilling rides, captivating experiences, and magical adventures. Staying at an on-site hotel adds convenience and exclusive benefits, while the Wizarding World of Harry Potter offers an enchanting escapade into the beloved literary universe.

Whether you’re a die-hard Harry Potter fan, seeking adrenaline-pumping rides, or looking for a memorable family vacation, Universal Orlando Resort is the ultimate destination that guarantees an experience like no other. Dive into the magic and make lifelong memories in this fantastical realm of adventure and wonder.

Exclusive Offer: Book your Universal Orlando Resort vacation or tickets with Siera by November 30, 2023 and receive a complimentary Guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter ($9.97 value)!

Start Planning Your Universal Orlando Resort Vacation Today!