Wizarding World Update – for Muggle Eyes Only

Calling all Muggles! We hope you’ll be as excited about this as we are because something amazing is coming to Universal Orlando and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

Hagrid's Motorbike Adventure
Photo Courtesy of Universal Orlando

For the first time ever you can join Hagrid,  the Care of Magical Creatures Professor at Hogwarts, on an adventure that takes you far beyond the grounds of Hogwarts Castle and into the paths of some of the Wizarding World’s most interesting creatures.

This amazing, thrilling coaster ride replaces Dragon Challenge and will be opening June 13, 2019 in Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park.

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Vacations with Character is an Authorized Universal Orlando Preferred Partner and let me just say, we ♥♥♥ Universal Orlando! Contact us and we’ll prepare a vacation you’ll remember and may even save you money…money you can spend on things like a #Butterbeer or a Wizarding Wand, like Harry’s!

Don’t forget to ask about our special promo ticket where you’ll Buy 2 days and Get 2 Days FREE  (valid until June 30th)!  Our services are also FREE but you’ll receive tip sheets and expert advice when you book with us – plus more. Visit us at www.vacationswithcharacter.com for more information on Universal Orlando or to book today!



#Disney Character Round Up

Around here, we’re all about characters! ♥ Please enjoy this summary of all the latest and greatest news and character happenings provided to us from Disney Destinations.

Walt Disney World

Ralph and Vanellope’s New Portal to the Internet is Open at Epcot:
Photo Courtesy of Disney Travel News by Disney Destinations

As previously reported, Ralph and Venellope have been meeting their fans since last fall at Epcot, but you can now find them in their new location where a portal has opened a window on the internet for them to step through…right into the ImageWorks area of the Imagination! pavilion at Epcot®.

Mariachi Cobre Present the Story of ‘Coco’ at Epcot This Spring:
Coco the puppet from the move Coco
Photo Courtesy of Disney Travel News by Disney Destinations

Beginning March 6, 2019, the tender story and vibrant music of Disney•Pixar’s “Coco” comes to the Mexico pavilion, courtesy of the Mariachi Cobre. The talented musicians of Mariachi Cobre are joined by a pair of Folklórico dancers to tell the tale of Miguel Rivera, his love of music, and his journey to find what matters most – his familia.

Celebrate with your favorite Pixar pals at Disney’s Hollywood Studios:
Famiy posing in front of new Incredibles Celebration Background
Photo Courtesy of Disney Travel News by Disney Destinations

2019 marks the 30th anniversary of Disney’s Hollywood Studios® at Walt Disney World® Resort and it’s the perfect place to step into the amazing worlds of Pixar stories like “The Incredibles,” “Monsters, Inc.,” “Toy Story,” and very soon, “Cars.”

  • Find fun photo ops and evidence of young Jack-Jack.
  • Explore The Edna Mode Experience and meet Edna Mode herself.
  • Step through a door to the monster world to say hello to Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan on the Scare Floor of “Monsters, Inc.”.
  • Visit Toy Story Land where you’ll encounter Buzz Lightyear, Woody and Jessie, and just might get caught up in a game of “Sarge Says” with the Green Army Patrol.
  • Plus, starting March 31, 2019, the world of “Cars” is coming in the form of Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy, a new high-octane show experience that’ll bring you face-to-face with the legendary Piston Cup champ.
NEW Disney Junior Dance Party:
Vampirina at Disney Junior Dance Party
Photo Courtesy of Disney Travel News by Disney Destinations

Also at Disney’s Hollywood Studios®,  a new Disney Junior Dance Party debuted last month. Kid favorites like Vampirina, Doc McStuffins, Timon and even Mickey from popular Disney Junior TV shows rock out with Guests during this high-energy show that takes place several times throughout the day.  Here’s a sneak peek!

It’s Hakuna Matata Time at Animal Kingdom:
Man playing guitar at Hakuna Matata Dance party
Photo Courtesy of Disney Travel News by Disney Destinations

To mark the 25th anniversary of the original animated film, “The Lion King”,  Disney’s Animal Kingdom has come alive with the magic of its story and characters. Each day, Discovery Island jams to the Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party, a celebration where engaging party hosts and young adventurers can let out their inner animals on the dance floor. Timon, Rafiki and their Disney animal pals Baloo, Koda, Meeko and Terk stop by, too!

Meet Kevin from “Up!” :
6 people, people smiling, outdoor with Kevin from the movie Up
Photo Courtesy of Disney Travel News by Disney Destinations

Recently, we shared on our Facebook Page the large and exotic bird known as “Kevin,” from Disney•Pixar’s “Up!,” appeared to be migrating north from Paradise Falls to the direction of Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park. As you can see from this exclusive footage, it looks like she’s been spotted on the park’s Discovery Island! Check it out!

Disney Cruise Line

Sail-a-Wave Party
Mickey Mouse and friends
Photo Courtesy of Disney Travel News by Disney Destinations

Join Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto and Donald on the top decks of the Disney Wonder and Disney Magic for this fun-filled celebration as you “wave” goodbye to work and school and say hello to your Disney cruise vacation.  Dance alongside the crew and characters, and participate in the biggest “wave” on the high seas before the official sail-away countdown! It’s an unforgettable way to start your cruise.

Mickey’s Sail-a-Wave Party is already making waves aboard the Disney Wonder and will premiere on the Disney Magic on Feb. 22, 2019.

Return of Star Wars Day at Sea and Marvel Day at Sea on Disney Cruise Line:
Star Wars and Marvel characters posing
Photo Courtesy of Disney Travel News by Disney Destinations

Also announced, In 2020, two epic adventures return to Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Fantasy and Disney Magic with limited experiences  – Star Wars Day at Sea and Marvel Day at Sea.

Star Wars Day at Sea features encounters including Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2. These cruises also feature a full day of Star Wars activities including live shows, Star Wars-themed family and kids’ activities, unique food and beverage and special merchandise offerings. The day ends with “Summon the Force,” a deck party that celebrates the Star Wars universe and caps off the night with a fireworks show of galactic proportions.

Marvel Day at Sea features the thrills of renowned Marvel comics, films and animated series.  The largest assembly of Marvel Super Heroes and Villains, including the recent addition of Captain Marvel, along with Captain America, Spider-Man, Iron Man and more, highlight an all-day entertainment lineup that includes live shows for the whole family, an extraordinary deck show, Marvel-themed activities for kids and families, special merchandise and unique food and beverage offerings.



Join Super Heroes During Disneyland After Dark: Heroes Assemble
Disneyland After Dark: Heroes Assemble poster
Photo Courtesy of Disney Travel News by Disney Destinations

Step into the Super Hero universe during Disneyland® After Dark: Heroes Assemble at Disney California Adventure® Park! This special, after-park hours occasion will feature an action-packed line-up of experiences either April 30 or May 1, 2019 from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. each night.

Guests will also have access to select attractions in Disney California Adventure Park, such as the exhilarating Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!  Each night will feature:

  • Epic entertainment, including a rockin’ dance party and heroic show moments.
  • Encounters with admired Super Heroes.
  • Park-wide scavenger hunt to find hidden artifacts—helping to save mankind!
  • Immersive photo opportunities and gallant décor, as well as themed food, beverage and merchandise offerings.
  • Fun surprises to celebrate 80 years of comic art.
  • Unlimited digital downloads of your Disney PhotoPass photos captured during the event.

Parking fees are not included in the ticket price. A limited quantity of tickets for both event nights will be available beginning next week:

  • Feb. 19: Tickets on sale for Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders
  • Feb. 21: Tickets on sale for general public
Mickey’s Soundsational Parade at Disneyland Park
Chip and Dale with a life-size birthday cake in a parade while people, standing outdoors are watching
Photo Courtesy of Disney Travel News by Disney Destinations

“Mickey’s Soundsational Parade” is currently making its way through Disneyland® Park as part of Get Your Ears On – A Mickey and Minnie Celebration! This popular parade puts music in motion with Disney characters, performers and two new parade floats. The party features new entertainment, including “Mickey’s Mix Magic,” as well as limited-time decor, food and beverage offerings and festive event merchandise. Take a look!

New Character Dining Options at Disneyland Resort
Mickey Mouse meets a little boy at breakfast
Photo Courtesy of Disney Travel News by Disney Destinations

Little ones will enjoy interactions with their favorite characters and delectable food at these Disneyland® Resort character dining locations:

    • Goofy’s Kitchen: Enjoy an unforgettable meal with Goofy and friends as you create a perfect meal from the wide selection of delicious, all-you-care-to-enjoy dishes at this fun-filled breakfast in the Disneyland Hotel.
    • Plaza Inn: Fans, big and small, will love dining at Plaza Inn at Disneyland Park for “Minnie & Friends – Breakfast in the Park” that also features an all-you-care-to-enjoy spread of morning favorites.
    • Storytellers Cafe: Find the man Mouse himself in Storytellers Cafe at  Mickey’s Tales of Adventure Breakfast, located in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. Join Mickey as he welcomes you to an immersive culinary adventure and bountiful breakfast with some of his closest friends.
    • Disney’s PCH Grill: Find the lovable Donald Duck here at Donald Duck’s Seaside Breakfast Buffet in Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel. Start your day right with a variety of enticing breakfast items.
    • Napa Rose Restaurant:  This all-new character dining experience is a fairy tale come true. The Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures is a one-of-a-kind dining event where families can share magical moments with Disney Princesses while enjoying a delectable three-course breakfast.
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With special limited-time offers, there is no better time to plan a visit to the Happiest Places on Earth. Be sure to contact one of our amazing Travel Professionals for a free, no-obligation quote or to book: www.vacationswithcharacter.com

What Time Is It?

It’s time to Party! We say “Mardi” ….you say “Gras”.

A Mardi Gras performer in a striped outfit raises his arms in front of a float
Photo courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort


The holidays are behind us and Punxsutawney Phil has predicted an early Spring. What a better way to celebrate in 2019 than Mardi Gras at Universal Orlando Resort!  It’s Florida’s biggest party and it runs from February 9 – April 4  every night this year at Universal Studios Florida!

Hungry for a taste of New Orleans?

A guest enjoys a beignet at Mardi Gras.
Photo courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort

Experience it every day beginning at 4 pm in The French Quarter Courtyard,  a space dedicated to “N’awlins Style Food and Spirits”.  Some of the bayou’s best, authentic dishes will be available for purchase such as jambalaya, beignets and more — all in tasting sizes so you can sample a variety of Cajun and Creole cuisine.  And don’t forget to check out the specialty cocktails created just for this event!

Craving some music for your soul?

Check out the sounds of real Louisiana jazz, blues, and zydeco bands:

  • Feb. 9–17: Dirty Bourbon River Show
  • Feb. 18–27: Naughty Professor Brass Band
  • Feb. 28–Mar. 18: Free Agents Brass Band featuring Honey Bannister
  • Mar. 19–Apr. 4: New Breed Brass Band

It wouldn’t be Mardi Gras without a parade!

Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor
Photo courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort

Watch the confetti and countless beads fly while you enjoy nightly parades featuring colorful costumes, stilt walkers, dancers and street performers as they get in touch with their “wild animal side”, the theme of this year’s floats.  There’s even a special viewing area for petite party goers in the The Little Jester’s Parade Viewing Area, located in front of the Brown Derby Hat Shop.  Access is available beginning one hour before the parade starts.

Where and when to see it:

Parade starts at 5:15 pm on the following dates:
Feb. 21
Mar. 4

Parade starts at 6:15 pm on the following dates:
Feb. 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28
Mar. 1, 5, 6, 7, 8

Parade starts at 7:15 pm on the following dates:
Mar. 3

Parade starts at 7:30 pm on the following dates:
Mar. 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29
Apr. 1, 2, 3, 4

Parade starts at 7:45 pm on the following dates:
Feb. 9, 16, 17, 23
Mar. 2, 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 30, 31

You can’t have a great party without great music!

Macklemore, Pitbull and More Performing at Universal’s Mardi Gras 2019
Photo courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort

On select nights of Universal Studios’ Mardi Gras, catch performances from some of the biggest names in pop, rock, country, R&B and more at the Music Plaza stage beginning at 8:30 pm.

Here’s the latest line up:

  • February 9 – BUSH
  • February 16 – Gavin DeGraw
  • February 17 – Dan + Shay
  • February 23 – Macklemore
  • March 2 – Sabrina Carpenter
  • March 9 – Becky G
  • March 10 – Sean Paul
  • March 16 – Steve Miller Band
  • March 17 – Ziggy Marley
  • March 23 – NF
  • March 24 – Pitbull
  • March 30 – Bazzi
  • March 31 – To be announced

Whether you’re spending time with family or enjoying fun with friends, we can help you get your party-animal on by putting together the perfect vacation package for you! Reach out to your favorite Vacations with Character® Travel Professional or request your FREE quote by clicking here!