Category Archives: United States

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!

UNIVERSAL ORLANDO’S MARDI GRAS 2024 CONCERT LINEUP
DateHeadliner
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 siera@spreadingmagic.com 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

DisneyStore.com
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!

Top 10 Reasons Why Maui is a Bucket List Honeymoon Destination

Honeymooning in Maui has long been a bucket list destination. With beautiful beaches, stunning views, and great weather, it’s hard to imagine a prettier or more romantic place around the world than Maui. Whether you’re a casual couple who just wants to unplug or looking for the finer things in life, you should put Maui on your honeymoon bucket list. Here are 10 reasons why I think Maui will give you an amazing honeymoon.

Why Maui?

Hawaii is made up of several different Islands, that all offer multiple “OMG!” experiences.

In this article, I will focus on the island of Maui and 10 reasons why you should put
Maui on your honeymoon short list!

Maui is that enchanting gem among the Hawaiian Islands that will leave you with
everlasting memories. The place epitomizes the dreamy and idyllic ambiance that is
synonymous with Hawaii.

Captivating Adventures

Maui promises a series of captivating adventures. You can view the majestic whales
and engage in unforgettable snorkeling encounters with graceful sea turtles. Witness
the mesmerizing spectacle of a sunset luau, and indulge in a luxurious experience
within a romantic cabana on the pristine white sand beaches.

Easy Island Hopping Day Trips From Maui

For those seeking even more exploration, Maui is the perfect location for you to take an
Island Hop for the day, to one of the other Hawaiian Islands. You can take invigorating
cruises or quick, convenient flights to neighboring islands. Here is a BRIEF description
overview to get you excited.

Kauai

Kauai, located west of Maui, is easily accessible by flight. This beautiful island is
renowned for its natural wonders, including the awe-inspiring Waimea Canyon,
featuring breathtaking elevations of 3,600 feet and cascading majestic waterfalls.

For an unforgettable whale-watching experience, visitors can head to the Kilauea
Lighthouse, perched on a seaside cliff. The island also offers the perfect setting to
witness picturesque sunsets at Poipu Beach Park and enjoy adventurous kayaking amid
the stunning Wailua Falls.

Lanai

Lanai, an island located southwest of Maui accessible by ferry, offers a remarkable
escape for off-the-beaten-path adventurers. Here, you can embark on exhilarating hikes along red dirt roads, experience the serenity of horseback riding in picturesque
fields, and have the unique opportunity to meet the charming residents of the cat
sanctuary.

Lanai promises an extraordinary and intimate experience, away from the typical tourist
trails.

Molokai

Molokai, a captivating island, boasts the breathtaking beauty of Halawa Valley, where
lush foliage and cascading waterfalls create a mesmerizing landscape. The turquoise
waters and unspoiled beaches of Papohaku Beach add to its charm. To truly experience
Molokai, go beyond the typical tourist spots and connect with the local community.

Engage with the island’s people by volunteering on local farms and seeking information about hidden gems like the canoe club and unique excursions not commonly found in guidebooks.

Molokai is accessible from Maui via a 90-minute ferry ride or a 25-minute flight.

Molokini

Nestled in the glistening waters of the Pacific Ocean, Molokini emerges as a tiny yet
extraordinary crescent-shaped island. This captivating landmass is a partially
submerged volcanic crater, adding a touch of mystique to its allure. Renowned for its
natural beauty and crystal-clear waters, Molokini has become a highly sought-after
destination for snorkelers and those seeking extraordinary day cruises.

Molokini’s unique geological features and position as a marine biodiversity sanctuary
make it an unparalleled destination for nature lovers.

Molokini is a quick 30-minute ferry ride from Maui.

Pearl Harbor

Is Pearl Harbor on your list of things to do? You can easily take a day trip to Oahu to
see Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial.

Many Luxurious & Pampering Resort Options

Maui also boasts exclusive resort options, making it an ideal paradise for
honeymooners. In Maui you will have your pick of amazing resorts that will give you
service, pampering, and romance! From the romantic views of the Four Seasons Hotel
Maui at Wailea, to the Art Deco elegance of the Fairmont Kea Lani Maui, there is a
resort for every couple.

Window Shopping & Historic Strolls in West Maui

The primary entry point for most visitors to Maui is West Maui. This region has unique
locations like Kapalua, Honolua Bay, Kaanapali, and the historically rich town of
Lahaina. Once a quaint fishing village, Lahaina now boasts charming historic streets,
distinct art galleries, and charming boutiques, adding to the allure of this beautiful
area.

Whale Watching

The optimal time to spot whales in Maui is from December to May. You can witness
these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. Numerous guided tours are
available, ensuring a memorable and immersive experience as you embark on a journey to confront these awe-inspiring marine beings.

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving

Kapalua Beach provides a snorkeling experience in calmer and more protected waters,
ensuring a safer environment for underwater exploration. Honolua Bay, located a few
miles east, offers a rocky terrain for those seeking a different snorkeling adventure.

Kaanapali Beach features Black Rock, a popular spot where the ocean reaches depths
of up to 25 feet, inviting diving and snorkeling enthusiasts to immerse themselves.

Hiking Trails To Haleakala Volcano

Three-fourths of Maui is made of the Haleakala volcano, which has its own national
park. Its crater has several hiking trails, from 10-minute jaunts to more difficult treks for
day trippers and campers.

A Tour Of The West Maui Mountains

Honeymooners can enjoy a captivating journey through the majestic Mauna Kahalawai,
also known as the West Maui Mountains. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of Iao Valley State Park, where the tropical lushness welcomes you at every turn.
Witness the awe-inspiring power of nature at the Nakalele Blowhole, a natural wonder that leaves visitors spellbound.

Stroll along the charming bridges nestled within the luxuriant embrace of the Waihe’e
Valley rainforest. You will be captivated by the abundant wonders that await you on
this extraordinary adventure.

Don’t Miss a Luau

A Maui honeymoon is truly incomplete without the magical experience of a sunset
luau. Delight your taste buds with a sumptuous spread of traditional Hawaiian cuisine,
featuring various delectable dishes celebrating the island’s rich culinary heritage. Be
mesmerized by the graceful artistry of hula dancers as they weave enchanting tales
through their captivating movements, transporting you to a world of ancient legends
and traditions.

And as the evening unfolds, the mesmerizing spectacle of fire dancers and their skillful
performances will entice you. The unforgettable and romantic ambiance is just what
honeymooners need.

The Best Times of Year to Go on a Maui Honeymoon

Maui offers a delightful experience for visitors throughout the year, with certain
months standing out for specific activities. For a perfect island getaway, plan your visit
between April, May, and September through November, when the weather is pleasant,
and the crowd is also less. If you’re a surfing enthusiast, December is the ultimate time
to catch the waves.

Famous for its upscale ambiance and unspoiled beauty, Maui radiates an air of sophistication and pristine elegance. It is a haven where celebrities frequently grace the shores, often calling this paradise their home. With its idyllic beaches, opulent resorts, and oceanfront dining establishments, Maui offers a haven of luxury living. The island’s landscape is a symphony of cascading waterfalls, beautiful rainforests, and awe-inspiring vistas – it provides the picture-perfect setting for an unforgettable honeymoon.

When it comes to honeymoons, there’s no question that going to this island paradise provides a memorable experience that will live in your memories for years to come. If you take time to plan your Maui honeymoon right, you will have fun and enjoy yourselves, relax, and spend quality time together on one of the most romantic honeymoon destinations ever conceived.

Whether it’s for your honeymoon or for a special anniversary, you can’t go wrong with a trip to Maui. From resort suggestions to some off-the-beaten path activities to try, I’ve included some fun ideas for you and your new spouse to enjoy during your trip. Just remember that no matter how tempting it may be to play it safe on your resort, nothing can replace real experience – so get out there and explore!

If you are in the middle of trying to figure out your honeymoon, or just feel like you need a helping hand. Hit the easy button, and schedule a free 30 minute consultation with me today. I will do my best to help you make your bucket list honeymoon a reality.

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 siera@destinationsinflorida.com 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.

Conclusion

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!

10 Reasons You’ll Love Staying at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Imagine a getaway that combines retro charm with modern comforts, where you can unwind in a vibrant oasis inspired by the golden age of beach vacations. Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort beckons with its captivating blend of nostalgia and contemporary luxury. From its mid-century aesthetic to its top-notch amenities, this resort promises an unparalleled experience that captures the essence of a carefree beach holiday.

We love staying at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort at Universal Orlando Resort! This is a great resort for families and adults alike for a number of reasons. In this article, we will be sharing our top 10 reasons why you’ll love staying at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort during your next Orlando vacation.

Location

Nestled in the heart of the vibrant Universal Orlando Resort complex, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort is a haven that transports you to a bygone era of carefree vacations. Just moments away from the exhilarating theme parks and entertainment options, this retro-inspired resort immerses you in the essence of a classic beach getaway. With its prime location, you’ll find yourself seamlessly transitioning between the timeless allure of the past and the excitement of the present, all within the dynamic and captivating atmosphere of the Universal Orlando Resort. You can use the walking path over to the parks or take advantage of complimentary shuttles available for resort guests which run continuously throughout the day.

Exclusive Entrance to Volcano Bay

One of the standout features of Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort is its exclusive entrance to the tropical paradise of Universal’s Volcano Bay water theme park. This convenient access allows guests to step from their stylish rooms and suites directly into the excitement of Volcano Bay’s lush landscapes, thrilling water attractions, and soothing oasis. Whether you’re craving the adrenaline rush of water slides or yearning for a tranquil day lounging by the wave pool, Cabana Bay’s exclusive entrance ensures that every moment of your water park adventure is easily within reach. This unique perk seamlessly combines the retro-cool vibes of the resort with the modern exhilaration of Volcano Bay, making your stay at Cabana Bay an even more unforgettable experience.

Early Park Admission

Experience the magic of Universal Orlando like never before with the exclusive perk of Early Park Admission, available to guests staying at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort. This coveted benefit grants you early access to select theme parks, allowing you to beat the crowds and enjoy popular attractions with minimal wait times. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker eager to conquer iconic rides or a fan of immersive worlds craving uninterrupted exploration, Early Park Admission lets you make the most of your day right from the start. From the enchanting wizardry of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to the pulse-pounding excitement of Jurassic Park, this privileged access ensures you’re steps ahead in the quest for unforgettable adventures.

All guests of Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort are eligible for early park admission with valid theme park admission to Universal Orlando Resort. You can enjoy even more time in the parks when you visit Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, or Volcano Bay up to one hour prior to the park’s scheduled opening time with this exclusive benefit.

Lazy River and Pools

Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort has two pool areas, the Cabana Courtyard and the Lazy River Courtyard. The Cabana Courtyard offers a pool, dive tower themed water slide, poolside bar, cabanas for rent, shaded picnic tables and a large fire pit while the Lazy River Courtyard has its own pool, lazy river, sand beach, poolside bar and grill, two fire pits and plenty of outdoor seating.

Galaxy Bowl

Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort has its very own bowling alley, Galaxy Bowl, featuring ten lanes of ten-pin action. Although there is a nominal cost to bowl, it’s a great way to spend a rainy afternoon or evening break from the parks. Galaxy Bowl even offers a table service restaurant and full bar. Please note that reservations are required.

Starbucks

Did you know that every Universal Orlando Resort hotel has a Starbucks? And, we don’t mean that they just serve Starbucks coffee. You can enjoy your favorite Starbucks beverage of choice at the full service Starbucks inside Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort. We even enjoy seasonal favorites (like the Pumpkin Spice Latte) here!

Price

Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort offers an unparalleled blend of value and comfort, making it a top choice for travelers seeking an affordable yet stylish stay within the Universal Orlando Resort complex. With a range of room options designed to accommodate different budgets, guests can enjoy spacious accommodations and a wealth of amenities without compromising on quality. From the retro-inspired decor to the variety of dining options and recreational activities, Cabana Bay delivers an exceptional experience that doesn’t break the bank. This affordability, coupled with its prime location and exclusive perks like Early Park Admission, makes Cabana Bay the perfect choice for families, couples, and adventurers looking to make the most of their Universal Orlando vacation without sacrificing on comfort and convenience.

Variety of Accommodations

Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort offers a variety of room categories to cater to different preferences and group sizes. Here’s an overview of the options available:

  1. Standard Rooms: These rooms offer comfortable accommodations with a retro-cool vibe. They come with various bedding configurations to suit your needs and provide essential amenities for a relaxing stay.
  2. Poolside Standard Rooms: If you want to be just steps away from the action, poolside rooms offer convenient access to the resort’s stunning pools and recreational areas. Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere and easy access to the water fun.
  3. Volcano Bay View Standard Rooms: Immerse yourself in the tropical paradise with these rooms that offer spectacular views of Universal’s Volcano Bay water theme park. Wake up to the sight of the towering volcano, adding a touch of magic to your stay.
  4. Interior Entry Family Suites: These spacious suites are perfect for families or larger groups. They feature a separate bedroom and a living area with a pull-out sofa bed. Enjoy added privacy while still having common space to relax.
  5. Exterior Entry Family Suites: Similar to the interior family suites, these suites also offer separate bedrooms and a living area with a pull-out sofa bed. However, they come with a unique twist – an exterior entryway, giving you more of a motel-style feel.
  6. Two Bedroom Volcano Bay View Suites: Ideal for bigger families or groups, the two-bedroom suites offer ample space and comfort. With two separate bedrooms and a living area, everyone can enjoy their privacy while still sharing quality time together.

No matter which room category you choose, you’ll be surrounded by the resort’s retro-inspired design, modern amenities, and a range of on-site activities that make your stay at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort a truly memorable experience.

Theme

Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort immerses you in a vibrant and nostalgic world that harks back to the carefree spirit of the 1950s and 1960s. The resort’s colorful, retro theme instantly transports you to an era of classic beach vacations and mid-century design. From the moment you step into the lobby adorned with vintage-inspired decor, you’re enveloped in a world of bold hues, playful patterns, and iconic design elements that capture the essence of a bygone time. Every corner of Cabana Bay showcases the retro-cool aesthetic, from the bright poolside cabanas to the thematic dining venues. This captivating blend of nostalgia and modern comfort creates an atmosphere that’s not just a place to stay, but an immersive experience that brings the golden age of travel to life in a truly delightful way.

More Resort Amenities

There are even more great amenities offered at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Forget something at home or want to pick up some souvenirs? Stop by the gift shop, located just off the lobby. Your kids (even those just young at heart) will also love spending time inside the timeless arcade, located on the second floor. There’s even a complimentary Jack LaLanne physical fitness studio that resort guests can use to stay in shape on vacation.

Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort isn’t just a place to stay; it’s a destination in itself, where timeless style and modern convenience converge to create an unforgettable vacation experience. Whether you’re drawn to its retro allure, enticed by the variety of pools and recreational activities, or simply seeking the perfect home base for your Universal Orlando adventure, this resort is sure to exceed your expectations. From the moment you step into its vibrant atmosphere to the memories you’ll carry long after you leave, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort promises a stay that’s as extraordinary as it is nostalgic.

Have you ever stayed at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort? What’s YOUR favorite part of Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort?

5 Ways to Truly ENJOY Traveling with Kids

Ah, children. Our sweet angel-faced offspring who bring us so much joy, right up until the moment they start karate kicking the seat in front of them on an airplane… Or fighting with their siblings in the back seat during a road trip. Traveling with kids can be an incredibly rewarding and memorable experience, but it often comes with its fair share of challenges.

From restless toddlers to moody teenagers, there’s a spectrum of emotions and needs to balance while on the road. However, with a bit of preparation and the right mindset, you can turn your family adventures into joyful and enriching journeys that everyone will cherish. In this blog post, we’re thrilled to share five valuable strategies that will not only make traveling with kids smoother but also help you truly enjoy every moment of your exploration together.

Here are five ways to survive (and even thrive) while traveling with kids, before you go diving for some Xanax or a boatload of tequila… 

Expectations

Have them, lower them, and then keep repeating them to yourself. Traveling with children is different than traveling kid-free, and is often more of a ‘trip’ than a relaxing vacation. Knowing beforehand that you’ll be making memories, having fun, but quite possibly not sleeping in or getting much rest will help shoulder any disappointment at a vacation that ‘could have been’.

Compromise

Sure, we’d all love a culturally rich day of strolling museums or enjoying a ten-course tasting menu at a new restaurant – but will that keep your smallest travelers happy? Finding activities that can please everyone from tiny tots to adventurous teens may be tricky – but it’s certainly not impossible. The right destination, resort, and especially travel advisor can arrange activities that suit the entire family’s interests, abilities, and ages. 

Say Yes to Help

While it’s a luxury not all can afford, many resorts offer licensed nannies or babysitters – and in return, you get a few hours to yourself. Have a doting grandparent that would spring at the chance to spend more time with their grandkids? Again, another luxury not everyone has in their lives – but if you do, this may be the perfect opportunity to invite them on a dream holiday, and get a bit of built-in babysitting to boot!

Bend, But Don’t Break

Bedtimes, healthy meals, and routines are all great. However, it may be worth bending the rules just a bit to not be bound to super-strict guidelines while on holiday. You’re on vacation, remember? Know your hard lines and choose when to bend your rules to allow for a memorable vacation where everyone’s having a good time. This could mean your kids don’t touch a vegetable for days or stay up a bit later than usual. Whatever works best for you, your family, and your sanity!

Entertainment Coordinator: At Your Service! 

Consider building a special ‘vacation’ bag, for your kiddos to only open during their travels. Fill it with some new toys, books, stickers, whatever your kiddos happen to be into these days – pack it chock full. Got a tablet and are ok with your kiddos watching tv? Download a few programs in advance, so WiFi issues won’t hinder their entertainment (aka your sweet moment of silence), and for the sake of all that is holy: GET THEM HEADPHONES, this is your moment of silence, remember?  

Remember, the essence of family travel lies in creating lasting memories and fostering connections. By following these five strategies – embracing flexibility, involving kids in the planning process, prioritizing downtime, finding age-appropriate activities, and savoring the small moments – you’ll transform your trips from being mere vacations to becoming cherished chapters in your family’s story. Every laugh, every curiosity-filled question, and every shared experience will contribute to a treasure trove of memories that your kids will carry with them throughout their lives. So, pack your bags, embark on those adventures, and relish the joy that comes with traveling with your beloved kids.

I’d love to help you plan the ultimate family vacation and ensure that even your tiniest travelers are taken care of. Click here to schedule a complimentary consultation with me.

Happy journeys!

Receive Sweet Treats Delivered to You When You Book a New Disney World Vacation

Would you like a sweet treat delivered to your Walt Disney World Resort hotel at no cost to you? When you book a new qualifying Disney World vacation with us by July 31, you’ll receive one of these delicious gifts delivered to your door!

Siera works with local businesses to have freshly made treats brought to you. You may receive homemade whoopie pies, homemade Mickey shaped rice krispy treats, hand decorated sugar cookies, Star Wars themed chocolates or Mickey themed cupcakes. Please note that although requests can be made, we cannot guarantee a specific treat as our bakers’ availability is limited and will depend on your travel dates.

In order to receive a delicious sweet treat delivered to your Walt Disney World Resort hotel, you just need to book a vacation package with a minimum three night stay and at least 3 days of theme park tickets!

Call Siera today at (734) 771-1290 or email her at siera@destinationsinflorida.com to book your Walt Disney World Resort vacation.