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Walt Disney World Resort Introduces New Dining Plan!

At Walt Disney World Resort, they know how important it is to give guests options so they can plan their visit in a way that’s right for them. Once such new opportunity is a NEW Disney Dining Plan option for Disney Resort hotel guests.
WDW Character Dining Lifestyle Shoot. 2013. Photographer: Melanie Acevedo

This new option, along with the recently announced “Water Park and Sports Option,” are great enhancements at a great value! Here’s the scoop on both:

Disney Dining Plan Plus
Starting today, Disney Resort hotel guests can add Disney Dining Plan Plus to their Walt Disney Travel Company vacation package. A Disney dining plan offers something for everyone as it is a convenient and flexible way for Walt Disney World guests to pre-pay for meals and eat at dining locations throughout the four theme parks, Disney Resort hotels and select locations at Disney Springs. With Disney Dining Plan Plus, guests get two meals per night of their package stay to redeem at either table service restaurants, quick service locations, character dining experiences, or a combination – giving them more flexibility.

In addition, the Disney Dining Plan Plus option includes two snacks per night, one Disney Resort hotel refillable drink mug (which can be used at any Disney Resort hotel quick-service location), and at each meal, unlimited refills of fountain sodas, single-service teas and brewed coffee, or one non-alcoholic specialty beverage, and for guests 21 and older with valid ID, one beer, wine or cocktail. Meals can be redeemed in any order and in any combination. Unused meals and snacks rollover day to day.

As Walt Disney World Resort continues to grow, there are so many amazing dining experiences for guests to enjoy, from new table-service restaurants like Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood and Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera, to favorite quick-service options like Docking Bay 7 at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Satu’li Canteen at Pandora – The World of Avatar.

In addition to the new plan, Disney will continue to offer the Quick Service Dining Plan, the Disney Dining Plan and the Deluxe Dining plan as well. Not sure what plan is right for your? Contact your favorite Travel Agent and ask!

New Water Park and Sports Option
The Water Park and Sports Option, available as an add-on to select theme park tickets for $70 plus tax, allows guests to choose between enjoying the splashiest thrills at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon or Disney’s Blizzard Beach, living their basketball dreams at The NBA Experience, attending events at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and testing their abilities at Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course, FootGolf at Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course, Disney’s Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course or Disney’s Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course.

RELATED: Tips for NBA Experience: Disney Springs

The total number of admissions you’ll receive with this option is based on the length of your theme park ticket. For example, with a 3-day ticket that includes the Water Park and Sports Option, guests will receive three visits to any of these locations. And, it’s flexible! You can use all your admissions on the same day or repeat the same experience across multiple days. This option can now be added to a Walt Disney Travel Company package, making it even more convenient.

Walt Disney World Resort is bustling with excitement right now, with groundbreaking lands like Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Toy Story Land and Pandora – The World of Avatar, seasonal festivals and three new films at Epcot and more. And, there’s even more on the horizon this year – from Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and the “Harmonious” nighttime spectacular!

RELATED: Largest Nighttime Spectacular Ever Created For a Disney park Coming to Epcot

There’s never been a better time to visit! Contact any of our amazing Travel Professionals by visiting our website and requesting a quote: https://vacationswithcharacter.net/ or simply drop us a line!

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Disney Cruise Line Offers an Exciting Array of Itineraries for Families in Summer 2021

In summer 2021, Disney Cruise Line will sail a variety of itineraries around the world including a return to Greece – back by popular demand – and exciting and varied European destinations, Alaska ports and tropical locales. Plus, Disney Cruise Line will visit three first-time ports of call in Greece, Sweden and Norway.
Greece Summer of 2021 on Disney Cruise Line
Courtesy of Disney Travel News: Greece Summer of 2021 on Disney Cruise Line

RELATED: 5 Reasons a Disney Cruise is a Dream Come True

Explore the Mediterranean, Northern Europe and Beyond!

In summer 2021, a new collection of itineraries is part of Disney Cruise Line’s grand tour of Europe. From May through July, the Disney Magic will visit captivating locales in the Mediterranean including the Greek Isles, Spain and the French Riviera. From late July through September, the ship will transport guests to bucket-list destinations in the British Isles, northern Europe, the Baltic, Iceland and Norwegian fjords.

The Disney Magic will return to the awe-inspiring beauty of Greece in summer 2021, where guests can marvel at the stunning landscapes and archeological wonders of the region, like Santorini with its iconic whitewashed cliffside dwellings and Mykonos with beautiful beaches along the azure Aegean Sea. Four special voyages departing from Rome will visit the Greek Isles, with cruises ranging from eight to 11 nights.

Each of these unique Mediterranean itineraries combines a selection of stops in Greece with visits to other notable cities in the region. Noteworthy ports of call in Greece include Katakolon near ancient Olympia – home to the first Olympic Games – and the gorgeous Greek island of Kefalonia, a first-time port of call for Disney Cruise Line.

Another itinerary highlight is a visit to the picturesque Sicilian harbor city of Messina, where guests can sample tantalizing, locally grown citrus fruits and delectable olives. One cruise features a stop at the city of Dubrovnik, Croatia, known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic.” Thewalled medieval Old City of Dubrovnik is a UNESCO World Heritage site that offers spectacular seaside views and centuries-old cobblestoned lanes to explore.

Additional first-time ports of call for Disney Cruise Line include the medieval city of Visby, Sweden, considered to be one of the best-preservedmedieval cities in Scandinavia andthe village of Eidfjord, Norway, home to geographic wonders and situated at the foot of Hardangervidda, Norway’s largest national park.

Looking to Adventure in Alaska?

Great news! The Disney Wonder will return to Alaska for the 2021 summer season to explore the region’s breathtaking natural vistas, glaciers and wildlife.

Departing from Vancouver, Canada, seven-night itineraries will visit Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan and Dawes Glacier. One nine-night Alaskan adventure will visit Hubbard Glacier, Icy Strait Point, Sitka, Juneau and Ketchikan. A special five-night cruise will travel to Dawes Glacier and Ketchikan.

Each Alaska sailing will offer adventure and fun in port and aboard the ship, with stunning scenery, exciting Port Adventures and special Disney Cruise Line touches that will bring the splendor and spirit of “The Last Frontier” to life onboard.

Are tropical vacations to the Caribbean and Bahamas your thing?

In summer 2021, Disney Cruise Line will embark on a variety of vacation voyagesto tropical destinations in the Caribbean and Bahamas. Ranging from three- to nine-night sailings, the varied itineraries allow guests to experience charming island cultures, sunbathe on golden beaches and revel in local marketplaces. Most itineraries include a stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.

In addition to seven-night eastern and western Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral, near Orlando, Florida, and the Walt Disney World® Resort, the Disney Fantasy will embark on an assortment of itineraries throughout the summer of 2021. These include a six-night sailing and an extended nine-night Caribbean cruise. Three-, four- and five-night Bahamian cruises round out the Disney Fantasy summer season – all including a stop at Castaway Cay. One special five-night cruise features two stops at Disney’s private island.

The Disney Dream will provide even more opportunities for guests to visit Castaway Cay in the summer of 2021 with all three- and four-night Bahamian cruises calling on the private island paradise.

Make the experience extra special by adding guided experiences with Adventures by Disney!

In summer 2021, Disney Cruise Line guests can enrich their cruise vacation with a variety of add- on packages from Adventures by Disney, a leader in family guided group vacations. Highlights include a return to Alaska and popular packages in northern Europe and the Mediterranean.

With Adventures by Disney, guests can book the ultimate Disney cruise experience on select sailings in Alaska and Europe. Throughout the voyage, knowledgeable Adventure Guides provide dedicated service both onboard and in port, as they lead guests on specially curated excursions, interactive activities and off-the-beaten-path adventures. Onboard the ship, guests enjoy unique experiences and premium amenities exclusive to Adventures by Disney, such as an intimate talkback session with Walt Disney Theatre cast members followed by a behind-the-scenes costume and prop activity.

Adventures by Disney also offers popular pre-cruise vacations in Rome; London; Barcelona, Spain; and Copenhagen, Denmark. These two- to three-night Escapes feature unforgettable experiences in iconic cities, such as a private guided tour to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel in Rome. Plus, activities like flamenco dancing, mosaic making and preparing local cuisine immerse families in the culture of each region.

Bookings for these Disney offerings open to the public on Feb. 27, 2020.  However, Platinum, Gold or Silver Castaway Club members, can take advantage of the opportunity to book summer 2021 itineraries before they go on sale to the general public on February 27, 2020:

  • February 25, 2020: Platinum Members 
  • February 26, 2020: Platinum and Gold Members 
  • February 27, 2020: Platinum, Gold and Silver Members 
  • February 28, 2020: all Guests 

To learn more take a look at our free e-brochures:

Disney Cruise Line
Adventures by Disney

See what sets Disney Cruise Line apart and contact us to book an AMAZING vacation onboard these award-winning ships! Click here for a free, no-obligation quote or to drop us a line!

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Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party Tickets Available Now!

Ready, set, boo! Today’s the day to start planning your visit to Walt Disney World® Resort for late summer and early fall. That includes getting your tickets for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party!
's Not So Scary Halloween Party Tickets 2020
Courtesy of Disney Travel News

Tickets are now available for the event that transforms Magic Kingdom® Park into a ‘spook-tacular’ celebration. Fun for everyone begins on August 13 and continues on select nights through Nov. 1.

This devilishly delightful night includes the return of “Disney’s Not So Spooky Spectacular” fireworks show (hosted by Jack Skellington, telling a Halloween tale about Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy), “Mickey’s Boo-to-You Halloween Parade,” the “Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular” stage show and more!

During the event, you’ll have the opportunity to greet favorite Disney characters (some of them wearing Halloween costumes of their own!), go trick-or-treating throughout the park, dance the night away at the Storybook Circus Disney Junior Jam and enjoy popular attractions with a special Halloween twist, including Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain and Mad Tea Party.

The fun also includes Halloween décor, delicious food, specialty merchandise, and some bewitching surprises along the way.

Here are the dates for 2020:

  • August 13, 18, 21, 25, 28
  • September 1, 4, 7, 11, 13, 15, 18, 20, 22, 25, 27, 29
  • October 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 31
  • November 1

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party tickets start at $85 but contact us to purchase early and you’ll save $10!

We will share more details for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party – as well as on-sale dates to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party – soon, so stay tuned!

Contact us by visiting our website and filling out a no-obligation quote form to reach one of our agents for more information or to book a most delicious vacation: https://vacationswithcharacter.net/ or simply drop us a line!

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Let Yourself “Whoa” at Universal!

Universal Orlando and Universal Hollywood have a new campaign slogan for this year and here’s why we ♥ it!
Comedians Kenan Thompson and Arturo Castro Headline Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood’s New Brand Campaign “Let Yourself Woah” – Courtesy of Universal Partner Community

Universal Orlando is one of the most magical places on earth! It’s a land of fantasy, thrilling experiences, and fun family time. It’s a place to reconnect, catch up, laugh, de-stress and feel like a kid again. When you visit, you’ll be entertained, amazed, and “whoa’d”. And that’s why the new slogan — “Let Yourself Whoa” — is so perfect!

As we go through the hum-drum moments in every day life, sometimes we just need a release, to recharge our batteries, and get back to being our best selves. We need some fun and excitement in our lives… and what a better place than Universal?

Comdeian Kenan Thompson – courtesy of Universal Partner Community

One of the new faces of this year’s campaign, Kenan Thompson, has been part of the NBC Universal family for years. Denielle Ricci from our Universal Partner Community recently caught up with him and here’s what they had to say:

Q: Tell me about the experience of being a part of the new “Woah” campaign for Universal Parks & Resorts?

I gotta tell ya, it’s been incredible. There’s a lot of love here in Orlando, and it’s been incredibly nostalgic for me because this is where I had my very first job. We’ve been prepping 20 feet away from where I spent my teenage years growing up here. I’m really excited to roll this out and see how people respond to the whole “Woah” of it all. I think it’s going to be really fun.

Q After experiencing the parks and working on this campaign, what does “Woah” mean to you?

“Woah” means to me exactly what these parks do for you on a daily basis. Every ride really delivers that “Woah!” I brought my family here and we went on all the rides and afterward, I was like “Woah” every single time.

Comedians Kenan Thompson and Family – Courtesy of Universal Partner Community

Q: You have a history with NBCUniversal. You filmed your show “Kenan & Kel” in Orlando, you’re a part of “Saturday Night Live”…how would you describe the experience of filming in a theme-park environment?

[A guest shouts, “We love you Kenan!” Kenan responds, “Thank you! Mad love for you.”]

That sums it up! That has been my experience working in a theme park. When I think back, I’m thankful that it was Universal. Coming back to a place that is so familiar has been blowing my mind these past few days. I had a chance to take my picture over by the old filming soundstage. I could have cried because it’s just a special place in my heart. It’s been a long road back and to be a part of such an awesome campaign for one of my favorite places – is like “Woah.”

Q: What is your favorite “Woah” moment so far at Universal Orlando Resort?

I gotta say it has to be Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. We rode it a few times, and I think it’s one of the most creative roller coasters in America. I don’t want to spoil it for people who haven’t ridden it, but you can’t even guess what happens next. The twists and turns and ups and downs – that’s all I can tell you. That’s my favorite, hands down!

Q: What is your favorite ride at Universal Studios Hollywood?

At Universal Studios Hollywood, Jurassic World is strong…super strong! I seriously felt like I was right in one of the movies. And seeing all of those giant dinosaurs lunge at you is so cool – and they look so realistic. The giant Mosasauraus, the Indominus rex – and of course that drop! It’s an awesome water ride that gets you soaked to the bone.

Are your ready to “Let Yourself Whoa?” Contact Vacations with Character® and let’s talk about your next amazing getaway to Universal! We have some special savings to tell you about including discounts on tickets, plus we are EXPERTS when it comes to Universal vacations. Visit us at our website for a free quote: https://universalvacationplanners.com/ or reach out and drop us a line!

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Animal Kingdom’s Celebration for 50th Anniversary of Earth Day

What happens when the 50th anniversary of Earth Day AND the 25th anniversary of the Disney Conservation Fund converge on the same day? Disney throws a party — and you’re invited!
Courtesy of Disney Travel News

From April 18-22, Disney’s Animal Kingdom® will host special entertainment and activities throughout the park – culminating in an all-day extravaganza on Earth Day (April 22).

Each day of festivities includes a stellar lineup of expert speakers and entertainment; behind-the-scenes tours; specialty food and beverage; limited-edition merchandise signings; character greetings; photo opportunities; special Wilderness Explorers activities for kids – and MORE!

Throughout the week, in the Wild by Nature Speaker Series, you’ll get to hear from some of Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s animal experts, educators and conservation “Heroes” at the park’s Theater in the Wild – learning about the ways Disney’s own conservation experts are working to save the planet and its wildlife.

And if that weren’t big enough, Disney has invited their new Disney colleagues at National Geographic to join in the fun. Nat Geo Explorers and Photographers will share their stories from the front lines of their explorations as well as wildlife photography and video techniques – showcasing what it takes to get all those stunning “never-before-seen” images and footage. They will join the outstanding roster of the Wild by Nature Speaker Series, and debut National Geographic merchandise at Disney Parks that week as well.

Get an insider’s view from Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde – one of the driving forces behind the past, present and future of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Joe will delight guests again this year with his Tiffins Talks featuring a spectacular four-course meal and lively discussion on his research trips and personal exhibitions from a life dedicated to exploration. Registration for this dining experience will begin today, February 18!

Courtesy of Disney Travel News

You’ll also get a unique look at this year’s Disneynature films debuting on Disney+ in April, Elephant and Dolphin Reef, including discussions with Roy Conli, award-winning producer of the films.

Earth Day 2020 just happens to be the 25th Anniversary of the Disney Conservation Fund. The Walt Disney Company is committed to ensuring a world where wildlife thrives and nature is treasured, and the Disney Conservation Fund has been a huge part of that effort, especially at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. As part of the celebration, the Disney Conservation Fund will showcase 25 global wildlife heroes, many of whom will present Stories from the Field and recount incredible moments in their work – saving at-risk wildlife around the world – from elephants and rhinos in Africa, to tamarins and anteaters in South America. Many of these stories will be featured in “Disney Conservation Legacy,” a new special edition 25th anniversary book, available for purchase in the park during the Earth Day celebration.

At the Animation Experience at Conservation Station, you’ll uncover the secret of how Disney animators bring their favorite characters to life – using real life animals as inspiration; AND there will be special Disney characters featured for the Earth Day Celebration!

On Earth Day, if you can’t make it out to the park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom also will be one of the places featured in the global live television event “BORN WILD: EARTH DAY LIVE,” simulcast on National Geographic and Nat Geo WILD on April 22, at 8/7c. Produced along with ABC News, the special features revered National Geographic Explorers and leading ABC News anchors and correspondents who will take viewers on a journey into the most fascinating, breathtaking environments around the world to witness and celebrate the diversity and splendor of charismatic baby animals, their families and habitats.

These are just a few of the festivities in store for Earth Day 2020. Stay tuned for more information about the Earth Day celebrations at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and if you’d like to include these events in your next adventure, contact us! We’d love to help you celebrate Earth Day with an amazing vacation! https://vacationswithcharacter.net/

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“it’s a small world”: Peace and Unity Live On

“One of the many reasons I love traveling to any Disney destination is because it allows everyone to let their creativity run wild, imaginations wander, and the spirit of magic is alive and well.”
Magicband lifestyle photos. Photographer: Chris Sista Producer: Justin Seeley Art Director: Laura Adams

By Jenny Beretto  ~ Vacations with Character® Travel Professional Specializing in Disney Destinations

“One of the many reasons I love traveling to any Disney destination is because it allows everyone to let their creativity run wild, imaginations wander, and the spirit of magic is alive and well.

A favorite attraction for my family is “it’s a small world”. My children love experiencing this whimsical boat ride on the 7 seaways canal through all 7 continents. For me, I don’t know if the allure comes from the fact that the attraction features the innocence of children throughout the world, for it’s message of unity or that it’s an original ride the “Man Behind the Mouse” was personally involved in. All I know is when the ride is finished, we all are smiling a bit wider and have a sense of peace and calm about this crazy world we live in.

Here are some cool and fun facts about this Walt Disney classic:

The attraction was originally created for the New York Worlds Fair in 1963. Walt Disney was asked to design a ride that kept with the theme of “Peace Through Understanding”. After the Worlds Fair, the ride was dismantled and made the haul across the country to debut in Anaheim, California. It began sharing the message of peace and unity at Disneyland on May 28th, 1966.

RELATED: Historic Images of Walt Disney and ‘it’s a small world’ Plans

Today, “it’s a small world” is in 5 Disney theme parks around the globe and gets a holiday makeover in 4 of them – Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disneyland, and Hong Kong Disney – every year . Did you know with the 1992 opening at Disneyland Paris, the cheerful anthem “It’s a Small World (After All)” plays somewhere on the planet every hour of the day?

© Disney

There about 300 Audio Animatronic dolls that take you on a journey spanning all 7 continents! These dolls were designed by Art Director, Mary Blair. Her vision for the attraction allowed us all to feel like we are traveling the globe through the whimsy and innocence of a children’s book. Mary Blair also worked on many other well-known projects; she drew concept art for “Alice in Wonderland”, “Peter Pan”, and “Cinderella” (to name a few). She is also responsible for the giant mosaic inside Disney’s Contemporary Resort! It is said a doll was created in memory of her too and if you look closely in the attraction, you’ll see a blond-headed doll holding a balloon about halfway up the Eiffel Tower in the Western Europe scene. 😊

The costume designs were imagineered by Alice Davis and they were created as authentically as possible, even using the finest silks from India. Alice also created some of the signature looks we love in Pirates of the Caribbean. She has a window on Main St USA, in Disneyland, right next to her late husband, Marc Davis. Alice’s window reads “Small World Costume Co. Alice Davis – Seamstress to the Stars”.

Of course, your visit to “it’s a small world” would not be complete if you did not exit the ride humming the catchy tune that has just followed you around the world. The classic anthem that serenades you, in varying languages throughout your journey, was created by the Sherman Brothers – the very same brothers that brought you the iconic Mary Poppins score.

© Disney

TIP: Be sure when you ride this attraction to have your Magic Band on – you just may just get a personal greeting at the exit of the ride. 😊 And speaking of Magic Bands, did you know you can purchase a special Small World version – isn’t it fabulous?!

© Disney

Today, the celebration continues as this Walt classic has stayed, for the most part, in its original iconic state. This is a true testament to the sentiment the ride portrays of “Peace Through Understanding”, a concept we all can benefit from in today’s day in age…because IT IS A SMALL WORLD AFTER ALL…”

Vacations with Character® is blessed to have 1000’s of wonderful clients, friends, and family trust us with their vacations to the most magical places in our ‘small world’ each year and we hope you will too! To contact Jenny or any of amazing Travel Professionals, please visit our website: https://vacationswithcharacter.net/ or simply drop us a line!

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Star Wars Day at Sea Returns in 2021 with Galactic Adventures on Disney Cruise Line

Ready for Out-of-this-world adventure? Star Wars Day at Sea returns in2021 and it’s time to prepare for your journey to ‘summon the force’!

Disney Cruise Line guests can experience the legendary adventures and iconic characters from the Star Wars saga aboard a Disney Cruise Line ship in a day-long celebration: Star Wars Day at Sea. The event combines the power of the Force, the magic of Disney and the excitement of cruising for an out-of-this-galaxy experience unlike any other. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

This special day-long celebration is filled with unique character encounters, unforgettable live shows and Star Wars-themed activities for the entire family. Star Wars Day at Sea takes place on seven-night Disney Fantasy cruises to the Caribbean from January through March.

RELATED: 5 Reasons to Take a Star Wars Day at Sea Cruise

With more than a dozen of the galaxy’s most formidable and heroic characters onboard, you can meet with the best of the Resistance including Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2; come face-to-face with Darth Vader; and be on watch as Stormtroopers, Bounty Hunters and Jawas roam the ship.

Force-sensitive children learn the ways of the Jedi and use their new-found skills in a face-off against Darth Vader and Kylo Ren in Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple. The whole family can celebrate the greatest moments from the Star Wars galaxy with the “Summon the Force” deck party, complete with a fireworks show of galactic proportions.

Costume celebrations, movie screenings, trivia sessions, the Star Wars Drawing Academy and a ship-wide Porg-themed adventure are more of the ways you can feel the Force on Star Wars Day at Sea. Unique food and beverage and special merchandise are also available on these sailings in early 2021. TIP: The hallway music goes “Star Wars” and the ship’s horn even gets in on the action – something true fans won’t want to miss!

Star Wars Day at Sea Itineraries
With cruises to the Eastern and Western Caribbean, you can celebrate your love of the Star Wars saga and enjoy tropical destinations, coupled with classic Disney magic and entertainment all week long onboard the Disney Fantasy. All Star Wars Day at Sea sailings make a stop in Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests, home to pristine beaches, crystal blue waters and fun-filled leisure and recreational activities for all ages.

And we have a great way to lay-a-way your vacation but you must hurry to get in on this offer*:

Star Wars Day at Sea will be offered on nine Disney Fantasy seven-night Caribbean cruises sailing from Port Canaveral, Florida.

Departing Jan. 2, Jan. 16, Jan. 30, Feb. 13 and Feb. 27, the Western Caribbean itinerary includes Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Falmouth, Jamaica; and Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay.

Departing Jan. 9, Jan. 23 and Feb. 20, the Eastern Caribbean itinerary includes Tortola, St. Thomas and Castaway Cay.

Departing Feb. 6, the Eastern Caribbean itinerary includes St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Castaway Cay.

Contact us to book your 2021 adventure today. We have something for everyone — don’t forget to ask about Marvel Day At Sea too! And remember, the earlier you book, the more you’ll save! Visit us at https://vacationswithcharacter.net/ and click on “Book Your Vacation” to reach your favorite Travel Agent!

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FastPass+ Coming to Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run at Walt Disney World Resort

Attention Star Wars fans! You can now reserve access to fly the “fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy” at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios! Read on for more information and TIPS on how to ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance as well.
Inside Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, Disney guests will take the controls in one of three unique and critical roles aboard the fastest ship in the galaxy when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens May 31, 2019, at Disneyland Resort in California and Aug. 29, 2019, at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. (Disney Parks) – Courtesy of Disney Travel News

FastPass+ reservations for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run are now available in the My Disney Experience app for those planning visits on or after Feb. 19.

Similar to other theme park offerings, when making FastPass+ plans for Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you can select between either Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run or Slinky Dog Dash (pending availability). Then, you  can add additional experiences to plans, including Toy Story Mania, Alien Swirling Saucers, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Fantasmic! and more.

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run combines immersive storytelling with interactive game play and makes you the protagonist of your own Star Wars adventure! Read our previous blog for more details!

RELATED: Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge: Chewy We’re Home (highlights of the Millennium Falcon)

Also, please note that during the grand opening period of the popular new attraction, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Disney will continue to operate a virtual queue.  Here’s what you need to know in order to ride  Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. You must be prepared as it’s THE MOST difficult to ride due to the fact there are NO FastPass+ or standby lines.

Photo Courtesy of Disney Destinations

How to ride’ instructions might seem excessive, after all, isn’t it just a matter of getting in a line and waiting your turn?! Unfortunately, that would be a huge NO! Not at this time. Protocol and procedure for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is fairly unprecedented in a number of ways and is confusing even to long-time Disney fans.

If you simply show up at park opening for Disney’s Hollywood Studios and think you’re going to be able to ‘rope drop’ Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, you’re in for a huge disappointment. To the contrary, you’re almost guaranteed you won’t be riding if you “only” show up at the official opening time!!

There is a Virtual Queue for Rise of the Resistance. The virtual queue is the sole system for gaining a spot to ride. Rather than FastPass or a standby line, you join this virtual line via the My Disney Experience app and are notified when it’s your turn to ride. You can download this app on any mobile device. Here’s a peak:

Next, you need to understand there are Boarding Groups. For example, rather than having a set  return time (as you do with FastPass+), you might be in boarding group 30. Your return time is not specified in advance, but rather, based upon how quickly the attraction cycles all guests through who are in front of you in the virtual queue.

TIP: Here’s the tricky part — in order to access the app and join the virtual queue, you must be IN the park first thing in the morning. Currently, Disney’s Hollywood Studios has had unannounced openings occurring at around 6:30 am regardless of the official park opening time. This is always subject to change so you may want to ask a Cast Member to confirm. Keep in mind, guests are lining up BEFORE this unofficial opening time as well outside of the gates. So, our best advice is you may want to arrive a little earlier than this to ensure you can get INTO the parks before official park opening.

Crowds at Hollywood Studios Lining up Before Unofficial Gate Opening Courtesy of Tracie Perkins

Once inside, you can walk through the gift shops on Hollywood Blvd. but you will be held there and not allowed to venture further into the park. It’s a good time to check and make sure your app is working properly and your reservations and/or park tickets are properly assigned (which you should already know by having selected your FastPass+ selections by now).  Keep an eye on the time, however, because once the virtual queue opens, which happens at scheduled park opening time (i.e. if the official park opening time is 7 am, the virtual queue will open at 7 am), it opens for everyone also in the park and Boarding Groups fill up FAST and do run out. So, you’ll want to have your app open and be ready to click on the “Join Boarding Group” button!

Photo Courtesy of Vacations with Character®

TIP: if you are staying on property at an Epcot area resort, you may want to consider walking to Hollywood Studios. We do not recommend bus transportation or the Skyliner at this time. Personal car, Minnie Vans, or calling for a taxi are your best bets.

While we don’t expect the popularity of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance to die down anytime soon, once the hype does die down (as it’s done with Millennium Falcon) Disney states they may transition to FastPass+ in the future, so be sure to keep checking back for updates!

Any questions? Contact your favorite Vacations with Character Travel Agent! https://vacationswithcharacter.net/

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Celebrate 25 Years of Party at Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras 2020

The holidays are behind us and Spring will be here soon. What a better way to ring in 2020 than at the 25th annual Mardi Gras Celebration at Universal Orlando Resort? Laissez les bon temps rouler every night from February 1 through April 2, 2020!
Mardi Gras Parade Team Member – Universal Studios Florida USF Entertainment

Enjoy a fun-filled day of theme-park adventures and an evening of delightful festivity. Just as in past years, this family-friendly Mardi Gras soiree will feature mouthwatering, Cajun food plus dazzling nightly parades – and one of the most unforgettable concert lineups ever!

Mardi Gras Concert Stage – Universal Studios Florida USF Entertainment

Take a look at this star-studded concert line up! Who are you excited to see? Concerts begin at 8:30 pm on the following nights:


Who doesn’t love a parade?! Watch the confetti and countless beads fly while you enjoy colorful floats and costumes, stilt walkers, and street performers. You won’t want to miss this celebration! TIP: Ask about the kid-friendly special viewing area!!

Mardi Gras Parade Floats – Universal Studios Florida USF Entertainment

Aren’t you excited? Now’s the time to start planning your trip to Mardi Gras at #UniversalOrl — Contact your favorite Vacations with Character® Universal Specialist Agent for a free, no-obligation quote today!

Vacations with Character® is an #AuthorizedUniversalOrlandoTravelPlanner and #UniversalAuthorizedTicketSeller. We also offer tickets that include EARLY PARK ADMISSION no matter where you stay! We never charge a fee and you’ll never pay more when booking with us. Plus, you’ll receive our tip sheets, a special park map, expert guidance and more!

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Let the Good Times Roll!
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