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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Largest Nighttime Spectacular Ever Created for a Disney Park Coming to Epcot

Epcot® is in the midst of an historic, multi-year transformation that is bringing a wide variety of exciting new attractions and experiences for you to enjoy this year!
Courtesy of Disney Travel News

RELATED: 5 Top Updates Coming for Walt Disney World in 2020

Set to debut later this year is “Harmonious,”which will be one of the largest nighttime spectaculars ever created for a Disney Park. As reported to us in Disney Travel News, the Walt Disney Imagineering and Disney Parks Live Entertainment teams recently reached a major milestone in the development of the show and we are excited to share the news with you!

You’ll discover how Disney music has the power to inspire and unite everyone as “Harmonious” (an innovative show filled with choreographed moving fountains, colorful lights, custom-built LED panels, lasers, pyrotechnics and more) brings to life a beautifully-crafted, nighttime,  dreamscape of Disney music and images, re-imagined by diverse cultural musicians and artists from all over the world.

You can catch an early glimpse of concepts for the show now by visiting ‘Walt Disney Imagineering Presents the Epcot Experience’, located in the Odyssey Events Pavilion or watch this short, sneak peak of what’s to come:

Visiting soon? Don’t worry, over the coming months as the show is being worked on behind the scenes and in the lagoon, you can still catch the limited-time spectacular “Epcot Forever, ” which has been described as a “love letter” to the park and tells the story of Epcot. Beginning with the first spark of inspiration and the opening day anthem, “We’ve Just Begun to Dream,” and continuing through chapters dedicated to the thematic pillars of innovation, exploration, imagination and celebration, it concludes with an all-new verse of the classic song, “One Little Spark,” leading into a spectacular grand finale promising “A Whole New World” of magical possibilities to come.

“Epcot Forever” is now showing nightly in World Showcase, and more will be shared on “Harmonious” in the months ahead as well!

Stay tuned to our blog for updates and more information to come. And if you’re interested in booking your vacation to any Disney Destination or beyond, our Vacations with Character® Travel Agents are here to help! We specialize in the happiest destinations on earth and although we never charge a fee, our experience and expertise are priceless!  https://vacationswithcharacter.net/

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The Fourth Epcot International Festival of the Arts Opens!

Celebrating the visual, culinary and performing arts is what it’s all about  during the fourth Epcot® International Festival of the Arts and it’s time to ‘Get your Art On’!

RELATED:  5 Great Reasons to Visit Epcot in 2020

Festival of the Arts 2020
Courtesy of Disney Travel News

This year,  you can step inside NEW life-sized frames of Van Gogh’s famous Café Terrace at Night or Sunflowers paintings and star in an Artful Photo Op, taste culinary wonders presenting artfully crafted dishes and libations at the 12 festival Food Studios, watch talented artists at work, and even take home your favorite pieces. Then, after a full day of fun, you can grab a seat and be treated to an unforgettable, complimentary performance of the Disney on Broadway Concert Series!

Child poses inside of picture frame
Courtesy of Disney Travel News

Are you an artist yourself? Did you know you can exercise your own artistic talent at multiple interactive exhibits and workshops? There’s something for everyone, including families. Fun-filled activities include:

  • Figment’s Brush with the Masters’ scavenger hunt
  • Animation Academy at America Gardens Theatre
  • Expression Section: Paint-by-Number wall mural in Future World (so cool!)
  • Living Statues (laughs guaranteed!) in Future World East
  • Acrobatic performances of the Art Defying Gravity troupe at the World Showcase Plaza stage
Edible, vibrant pink rose for Pop Eats
Courtesy of Disney Travel News

Twelve Food Studios surrounding the World Showcase offer creative bites and refreshing sips for you to enjoy like these standouts:

  • Sous Vide Chicken Roulade at Pop Eats!
  • Vanilla, Rose Water and Pistachio Panna Cotta at The Masterpiece Kitchen
  • Rainboba sparkling water layered with Fruit Boba and topped with a Foam Cloud at The Deconstructed Dish (heavenly!)
  • Chocolate Flight of white, milk and dark chocolate at The Artist’s Table – (yum!)

And you won’t want to miss these brand-new permanent films debuting today around the park:

Awesome Plant at the Land Pavilion sky at night filled with stars as family gazes on
Courtesy of Disney Travel News

“Awesome Planet” at The Land pavilion, narrated by Ty Burrell (Modern Family), features spectacular imagery, in-theater effects, and an original musical score by Academy Award-winning composer Steven Price.

Canada's snow covered mountain in Canada Far and Wide, Circle-vision 360 show in the Canada Pavillion
Courtesy of Disney Travel News

“Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360” in the Canada pavilion, narrated by award-winning actors Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy, presents breathtaking new scenes in this update of the original “O Canada!”

France Pavilion display of ornate costumes, music and artwork from cinema, theater, ballet, and opera
Courtesy of Disney Travel News

You’re invited to sing-along to a thrilling, new, animated twist on a “tale as old as time.” at the “Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along” in the France pavilion. Directed by Don Hahn, who produced the animated and live-action “Beauty and the Beast” films,  it’s a “not-to-be-missed” experience! And, at the theater’s entrance, you can explore a new exhibit, “Tales as Old as Time: French Storytelling on Stage and Screen,” featuring a stunning display of ornate costumes, music and artwork dedicated to the adaptation of French literature in cinema, theater, ballet and opera. TIP: you won’t want to miss the glass slipper from the live-action “Cinderella” film or Belle’s costume from “Beauty and the Beast.” Community arts organizations from Florida also contributed pieces to the exhibit!

While visiting World Showcase, be sure to check out two new bands including Lebendig, an award-winning German pop rock band, who will perform their modern take on Germany’s well-known Schlager sound in the Germany pavilion. And in the Morocco pavilion, you can enjoy the creative mix of traditional Gnawa music and the current sounds of Morocco with Atlas Fusion.

Certain premium festival experiences, like Paint with a Disney Artist, interactive workshops featuring Ink & Paint Animation, 3D Paper Crafting, Gesture Drawing Basics, Animation 101 or Doodling (Saturday and Sunday only) are bookable in advance and do include a fee, or you can try your luck and sign up for openings still available on the day of your visit.

Epcot® International Festival of the Arts runs now through Feb. 24! Ask a Vacations with Character® Travel Agent for more information on how to book your Spring getaway to “the world” and experience all the festival has to offer! Visit our website for contact information or to request a quote: 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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Walt Disney World Announces 3 More New Spring and Summer Discounts!

We previously shared a ‘Delicious Deal’ that included a FREE Dining Plan last week. Today, we’re excited to announce THREE more amazing offers!
WDW - PO Riverside - Food Court
Courtesy of Disney Travel News – WDW – Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside – Food Court

Staying at a uniquely themed Disney Resort hotel gives you the opportunity to enjoy convenient benefits like reserving access to select FastPass+ experiences as early as 60 days prior to arrival, Extra Magic Hours and a variety of convenient transportation options. And saving on your next vacation is easy. Read on for more details!

Related: Savor a FREE Delicious Deal for Walt Disney World Announced!

1) Savor Your Summer with a Tasty Kid-Size Package Offer at Walt Disney World Resort*

Receive a FREE dining plan for children ages 3 to 9 when you purchase a non-discounted package for you and your kid(s) that includes a room at a select Disney Resort hotel, Theme Park tickets and a dining plan. This offer is valid for arrivals most nights from May 25 – Aug. 28, 2020.  A minimum 2-night/2-day package is required, however, a 4 Night/4Day stay is suggested for maximum savings!

2) Bask in the Sun & Fun – Save Up to 25% on Rooms at a Disney Resort Hotel This Spring and Summer*
WDW – Sun and Fun Room Offer

If a package doesn’t fit your needs, we have another special offer for you! Save up to 25% on rooms at select Disney Resort hotels for stays most nights April 1-Sep. 12, 2020.

Note: Both offers expire Feb. 26, 2020, however, the number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited so don’t delay or you may miss out!

3) Florida Residents: Save Up to 30% on Rooms at Select Disney Resort Hotels This Spring and Summer*

Are you a Florida Resident? Did you know you can save up to 30% on rooms at select Disney Resort hotels for stays most nights Apr. 1-Jul. 9, 2020 when you book through Jul. 9, 2020?

Contact your favorite Vacations with Character® Travel Agent to book one of these amazing offers today! We never charge a fee and our experience plus expertise are priceless!

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*Length-of-stay requirements may apply. Savings based on the non-discounted price for the same room. Additional per-adult charges may apply if more than two adults per room at Disney Value, Moderate, Deluxe and Studios at Deluxe Villa Resorts. Cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion. Advance reservations required. Offer excludes the following room types: campsites, 3-bedroom Grand Villas, Cabins at Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows. Displayed room savings are for select Disney Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts; lower savings may be available at other select Resorts.

 

Ringing In the New Year – Walt Disney World Style

Are you ready to ring in an incredible new year WDW  style? They have quite a party in store for anyone planning to welcome in 2020 at Walt Disney World® Resort!
Courtesy of Disney Travel News

Here’s a rundown of some of the can’t-miss entertainment planned for this New Year’s Eve at all four parks:

Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park  For the first time, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will stay open until midnight on New Year’s Eve! Guests can join the celebration by experiencing favorite attractions throughout the evening and enjoying all the new holiday entertainment and décor across the park. DJs will crank up the party starting at 6:15 p.m. at Discovery Island, Asia and DinoLand, U.S.A., and as midnight approaches, Guests can count down to 2020 with special celebratory moments at each DJ location or by experiencing “Tree of Life – Awaken the New Year” on Discovery Island.

And as part of this year’s New Year’s Eve celebration, Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park is pintroducing a family fun special pin trading opportunity throughout the park only on Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019! Guests can check out pin trading boards displaying over 90 pins located throughout the lands of Africa, Asia, DinoLand U.S.A., and Discovery Island.  These displays will include Hidden Mickey pins and pins from Disney theme parks from around the world. Guests will have the opportunity to trade pins from these displays during the following times:

  • 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
  • 2:45 – 3:45 p.m.
  • 5:45 – 6:45 p.m.
  • 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.

This pin trading opportunity is truly special so participants will have one minute to trade two (2) Disney pins off of the designated trading boards.  Be sure to get there during each allotted time frame to see what’s new to each board!*

Not only will there be special pin trading throughout the day, to ring in New Year, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will also be offering a 2020 commemorative pin – a Limited Edition New Year’s Day Pin – for purchase beginning at 7:00 p.m.  Only 1,000 were produced! For the chance to purchase this pin, Guests can visit Discovery Trading Company beginning at 7:00 a.m. to receive a numbered wristband that will allow the opportunity to purchase up to two (2) pins beginning at 7:00 p.m. also at Discovery Trading Company.**

Courtesy of Disney Travel News
  • Epcot® – It’s a party throughout Epcot from 7 p.m. – 1 a.m., with unique entertainment including DJ dance parties throughout the park, a “Silent Groove” party in Future World and two showings of the new nighttime fireworks spectacular, “Epcot Forever.” Catch it at 6:30 p.m. and 11:40 p.m. The later performance will be followed by a countdown and pyrotechnic salute to the New Year.

RELATED: 5 Great Reasons to Visit Epcot in 2020

  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios® – Ring in the New Year beginning at 7 p.m. with a high energy DJ dance party at Center Stage, leading up to a countdown to midnight and fireworks celebration. Guests can also enjoy the all-new “Wonderful World of Animation” at 6:05 p.m. and two incredible nighttime spectaculars, with “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!” at 6:30 p.m. and “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular” just after midnight.
  • Magic Kingdom® Park – TIP: Get a head start on the festivities, with a special New Year’s Eve eve presentation of “Fantasy in the Sky” fireworks at 11:50 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 30, 2019, before guests can experience it on the 31st! The same show will also be presented at 6:30 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, for families looking to wrap things up a little earlier. Both nights will also include DJ parties in Frontierland and Tomorrowland.

If you’d like to book a last-minute getaway to celebrate the New Year in Walt Disney World, don’t delay and visit our website for a free quote from one of our experienced and amazing Travel Agents! It’s not too late to book and our services are always free for our clients!

And if you’d prefer to watch the fireworks from the comfort of your home, don’t worry, you can watch #DisneyParksLIVE: Celebrate New Year’s Eve With a Live Stream of ‘Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks’ Dec. 31 at 11:45 p.m. ET:

*Guests will have one (1) minute to trade two (2) Disney pins off the designated trading boards.  Please point to the pin(s) you wish to trade for and the cast member will pull off the board and hand to you.  All trades are final after pulled from the boards.

**A limited number of wristbands will be available for the day and will be given out on a first-come-first-served basis. Valid Walt Disney World Resort theme park ticket is required.  Queue for guests with wristbands will start 15 minutes prior to the posted return time at Discovery Trading Company. Guests will be assembled in sequential order. Wristband return must be completed between 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. on date of issue, 12/31/19.  Lost, stolen, or damaged wristbands will not be replaced. Wristbands have no cash value. Restrictions apply. Merchandise available while supplies last. Subject to change without notice.

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Disney’s Riviera Resort Now Open at Walt Disney World

In case you were busy with holiday happenings and missed the news, Disney’s newest resort is now officially open!
Courtesy of Disney Travel News

Following the fanfare of a grand opening dedication ceremony, the 15th Disney Vacation Club property and Walt Disney World®’s newest resort, officially opened to immerse guests in the sights and sounds of the European Riviera. To set the scene, a vocalist and classical guitarist performed elegant songs heard throughout the region, while a gentle breeze and warm sunlight magically transported all who gathered on the resort’s formal lawn to the Mediterranean coastline.

Terri Schultz, senior vice president and general manager, Disney Vacation Club, and Thomas Mazloum, senior vice president of resorts at Walt Disney World®, opened the ceremony with welcome and dedication remarks.

“Blending the flavors and flair of the Italian and French Riviera with the creativity and imagination that only Disney can deliver, this new resort pays tribute to Walt and Lillian Disney’s amazing European travels while connecting Disney artistry and storytelling to this region’s renowned art heritage and inspiration,” said Schultz. “Not only will Disney’s Riviera Resort delight families with its gorgeous architectural details and wide range of accommodations, but members and guests will simply fall in love with the sights, sounds and flavors of Europe around every corner.”

“Disney’s Riviera Resort adds a beautiful and inspiring addition to Walt Disney World,” said Mazloum. “We are always trying to evolve the guest and cast member experience at our parks and resorts. Riviera Resort does that by placing guests in the middle of the magic during their entire stay, inspiring them with old-world glamour and delighting them with timeless Disney charm.”

To everyone’s delight, special guests Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Daisy Duck joined the celebration onstage in their brand-new attire that they don in Topolino’s Terrace — Flavors of the Riviera, the resort’s rooftop restaurant. Mickey the painter, Minnie the poet, Donald the sculptor and Daisy the dancer shared their enthusiasm for the new resort and their study of the European Riviera’s different art forms. In addition, Minnie wrote and treated event guests to a special poem in honor of the resort’s dedication.

Guests had an opportunity to see some of the unique features of the resort, such as the two mosaic murals in the walkway tunnel leading to a Disney Skyliner station, the grand villas and Tower Studios, a unique accommodation at Disney’s Riviera Resort, and the S’il Vous Play water feature where families and young guests splash and play in a whimsical fountain amid beloved characters from Disney’s Fantasia.

Check out this video for your front row view of the grand opening celebration:

Although Riviera Resort is a Disney Vacation Property, our agency is able to book rooms for non-members as well. With easy access to the new Disney Skyliner, you can visit Epcot and Hollywood Studios in no time! If you’re interested in a quote or would like to make this your home-away-from-home spot for your next amazing Disney World vacation, just reach out to a Vacations with Character® Travel Agent. Our services are free to our clients but our experience and expertise are priceless!

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Disney Villains After Hours Returns to Magic Kingdom Park in 2020

We are counting down the days until Disney Villains After Hours returns to Magic Kingdom Park for 24 select nights starting February 7, 2020.
Courtesy of Disney Travel News

Disney Imagineers are enhancing the experience to include even more fun! New this year, the Villains’ Cursed Caravan will join Maleficent the dragon as she creeps through the park twice nightly. The wicked procession will feature Gaston, Oogie Boogie, Cruella DeVil, Captain Hook and more!

Plus, look out for more villainous action throughout the event:

  • Hades and Meg from “Hercules” will set the castle stage ablaze in “Villains Unite the Night,” featuring appearances by Jafar, The Queen, Dr. Facilier and Maleficent.
  • During this sinister soiree, you can dance the night away as a party DJ spins monstrous music on the Cinderella Castle Forecourt stage.
  • Experience the surprising, villain-inspired enhancements at Pirates of the Caribbean and Space Mountain.
  • As you make your way through each land, you can strike a pose as you come across sharable photo opportunities scattered throughout the park. (As a reminder, this event does not include actual character greetings.)
  • Disney Villains After Hours also includes wickedly good food and beverage selections. A few of the new treats this year are Painting the Roses Red — a cheesecake mousse with raspberry gelée, red cocoa butter, and buttercream leaves (available at Cheshire Café); Body Language — a cookies and cream mousse with chocolate cake, glaçage, and meringue tentacles garnished with a chocolate shell (available at Storybook Treats); and Five Dozen Eggs Slush — a frozen custard with brown sugar topped with whipped cream and garnished with a cinnamon stick (available at Gaston’s Tavern).
  • Across the park you’ll enjoy access to more than 25 attractions and experiences.
  • You can also purchase new event merchandise, as well as items from a curated collection of the best Disney villain merchandise available.

Event tickets allow entry as early as 7 p.m., which gives you time to enjoy fireworks before heading off to the attractions. Select complimentary snacks and beverages are also included in the cost of admission.

Tickets are available to purchase now if you want to secure your place at one of the events! Disney Villains After Hours tickets are $145 plus tax in advance or $155 plus tax on the event night. Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members do receive a $30 discount. Contact your favorite Vacations with Character® Travel Agent to book a vacation that includes a wicked good time!

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Top 5 Updates for Walt Disney World

It’s been a busy week for Disney Destinations and we thought we’d share the top 5 things you might want to know about!
Courtesy of Disney Travel News
1) Three new films will debut Jan. 17, 2020, at Epcot, on the same day the Epcot International Festival of the Arts begins!

“Awesome Planet”, in The Land pavilion, showcases the Earth’s beauty and diversity in a 10-minute film featuring spectacular imagery, in-theater effects and an original musical score from Academy Award-winning® composer Steven Price.

“Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along”, in the France pavilion, is directed and produced by Don Hahn, producer of the animated and live-action “Beauty and the Beast” films, and invites Guests to participate in a twist on a tale as old as time. It also features narration from Angela Lansbury, who played Mrs. Potts in the original film. The new sing-along will run in rotation with “Impressions de France,” which will receive an upgrade to 4K projection.

And “Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360”, in the Canada pavilion, is an update to the previous “O Canada!” film with new scenes, a new musical score by Canadian composer Andrew Lockington and new narration by award-winning actors Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy.

2) We were given a “first look” inside Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at Epcot!
Courtesy of Disney Travel News

Chef Remy is cooking up something special at Epcot®, and Walt Disney Imagineering is hard at work developing a new attraction for the park’s France pavilion, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, planned to open in summer 2020. Based on Disney and Pixar’s hit film, “Ratatouille,” this family-friendly attraction will invite you to shrink down to the scale of a rat for a culinary adventure with Chef Remy. You will race across Gusteau’s kitchen floor aboard special trackless ride vehicles, which you can see in the image at the top of this post.

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is one of several new experiences coming to Epcot as part of the park’s historic transformation already underway.

3) New Details were revealed on restaurants coming to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios:

Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue

Courtesy of Disney Travel News

The new fast-casual restaurant, opening this winter at The American Adventure in Epcot, will serve classic barbecue and home-style craft brews. When Guests step into the pavilion, they’ll be greeted by the enticing aromas of barbecue coming from a large smoker located in the center of the outdoor bar and seating area. Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue will celebrate American backyard barbecue with flavors from different regions around the United States.

Space 220 Restaurant

Courtesy of Disney Travel News

Space 220 is a new table-service restaurant debuting this winter at Epcot next to Mission: SPACE. Imagine entering a restaurant and stepping into a special space elevator that will take you 220 miles above the earth’s surface, offering incredible celestial views! Doesn’t this sound amazing? You’ll feel as if you’re traveling straight up into space to dock next to the Centauri Space Station suspended just beyond the orbit of Mission: SPACE. We can’t wait for the journey!

Roundup Rodeo BBQ Restaurant

Courtesy of Disney Travel News

Coming in 2020 to Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a new table-service restaurant that invites you to a rootin’, tootin’ rodeo right in Andy’s back yard! Here, you’ll be immersed with all your favorite toy pals in the western atmosphere of Woody’s Roundup providing a fun, family-friendly dining experience that could only be had in Toy Story Land. A new artist concept image (see above) emphasizes the theme of the new dining locale constructed from Andy’s favorite larger-than-life play sets and games.

4) JUST ANNOUNCED: Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser to Debut in 2021 at Walt Disney World Resort
Courtesy of Disney Travel News

Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser will begin transporting Guests from Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida to a galaxy far, far away beginning in 2021. This is a new type of immersive vacation that only Disney could create – a two-night, cruise-style itinerary where you become the hero of your own adventure in an experience that surrounds you 24/7 in Star Wars storytelling.

In a new artist concept rendering just released (above), you get a first look at what you’ll see when you arrive for your Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser vacation. The Galactic Starcruiser Terminal is where you’ll begin your Star Wars experience!

Courtesy of Disney Travel News

Whether you show up via personal vehicle, Disney transportation or by landspeeder, curb-side check-in prepares you to leave Earth behind, jump to lightspeed and begin your Star Wars story. From the Starcruiser Terminal, Guests will enter an exclusive launch pod transport ship (above) for travel up to the Halcyon, the starcruiser in a galaxy far, far away. Through the pod’s viewports, it looks as though you’re traveling through space to approach the massive ship that is much too large to land on any planet.

A “spaceport of call” to Black Spire Outpost is included in the itinerary, where special passenger transports take you to the planet Batuu (also known as the destination for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios®). You’ll remain fully in-story as you step aboard the transport ships designed specifically for this new immersive experience, which take you from Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and back.  For Star Wars fans, this promises to be an amazing experience like no other and we’ll be reporting on all the future details as they are announced.

5) The groundbreaking new Disney attraction Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is officially open at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios® – and we’re excited to say Guests are loving it! See for yourself:

Stay tuned to our blog for updates and information to come or to book your next vacation to experience a Disney Destination and see what all the hype is about! Our services are free for our clients but our experience and expertise are priceless! www.vacationswithcharacter.com

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