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Courtesy of Robin Gantek, Vacations with Character®

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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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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Vacations with Character® has earned the distinction of being an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner

 

Dates Announced for Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras 2020

New Orleans  is known for its parades, food, music, and fun. Experience it all nightly when Universal Mardi Gras returns to Universal Studios Florida from February 1 to April 2 in 2020!

Mardi Gras Parade Float for Universal Orlando Universal Studios Florida
Mardi Gras Parade Floats Universal Studios Florida USF Entertainment Beads
Join in on the fun with the nightly, family-friendly parade and celebrate with performers in colorful costumes. As Mardi Gras floats fill the streets, collect all the beads your heart desires!
Hunkering for a taste of N’awlins? Feast on Cajun specialties and tasty Mardi Gras treats in the French Quarter Courtyard. And, of course, party to the sounds of the Bayou as bands straight from the Big Easy play in the park every day.
As part of the event, and on select nights, you can even enjoy the annual Mardi Gras concert series featuring today’s top artists — and it’s included with your park admission!
Concert stage at Univesal Studios with Rip Ride Rockit in the background
Universal Studios Mardi Gras Concert Stage
The lineup will be released in the coming months and we’ll share that information with you soon. In the meantime, read our blog from this year to see what you can expect. 

This is one party you won’t want to miss! With a park admission ticket or Annual Pass to Universal Studios Florida, you’re an honorary part of the krewe! Stay tuned for all the details to come or if you’d like more information, feel free to reach out to your favorite Vacations with Character® Travel Professional, or request a free quote via our website!

 

 

Mid-Day Magic Ticket Offer Announced for Walt Disney World Resort

Beginning today, Aug. 15, 2019, you can “fall into fun” like never before at Walt Disney World® Resort with a new ticket offer!
couples enjoying Food and Wine in theme park setting
Courtesy of Disney Destinations

With the “Mid-Day Magic Ticket,” Guests can enjoy admission after 12 p.m. to one theme park per day. Two, three, and Four-day Mid-Day Magic tickets are available for start dates on or before Dec. 15, 2019. Here’s the details:

  • 2-Day Mid-Day Magic Ticket: Valid for admission after 12 p.m. 2-day Mid-Day Magic Tickets are available from $88 per day plus tax and expire four (4) days after the selected start date.
  • 3-Day Mid-Day Magic Ticket: Valid for admission to after 12 p.m. 3-day Mid-Day Magic tickets are available from $84 per day plus tax and expire five (5) days after the selected start date.
  • 4-Day Mid-Day Magic Ticket: Valid for admission after 12 p.m. 4-day Mid-Day Magic tickets are available from $79 per day plus tax and expire seven (7) days after the selected start date.

This is the first time Disney has offered a late-entry ticket with special pricing that allows Guests to enter the theme parks starting at noon and enjoy the day and evening! If you like to start your day at a leisurely pace, spend the morning at the pool, or enjoy other early-morning activities such as golf, this ticket may be ideal for you!

EDITED: Keep in mind, with these tickets, the magic starts at noon, park hopping is not allowed, and onsite guests would not be able to take advantage of the Morning Extra Magic Hour benefit.

If you would like more information about this or other package options, please contact one of the Vacations with Character® Travel Agents. We have the experience, expertise, and training to help you create the perfect vacation package for your needs!

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Vacations with Character® has earned the distinction of being an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner

 

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Now Open at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Young princesses and knights can step into their own fairytale at a “grand” new Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique location, now open at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa!

Courtesy of Disney Destinations

Joining the existing Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique locations at Magic Kingdom® Park and Disney Springs®, the latest enchanted boutique at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is a great option for Guests looking to dress up before visiting the parks or attending Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. TIP: it’s also a great photo op when combined with a delightful buffet at 1900 Park Fare with Cinderella and friends, located in Grand Floridian as well. Plus, a Disney PhotoPass Studio has also recently opened at the resort, providing you with the opportunity to capture picture-perfect royal portraits in front of a traditional backdrop.

In addition to the recently opened boutique, all Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique locations have introduced special new merchandise including a spirit jersey, MagicBand and accessories, and Minnie Mouse Ear headband,  all available to add to any transformation package.

Young princesses age 3-12 will receive magical transformations from their own Fairy Godmothers-in-Training and may choose from four new hairstyles inspired by modern royalty with customizable options including braids, bows and flower halos.

  • Enchanted – Hair is styled in a bun or messy bun hairpiece and includes choice of princess bow or shining tiara.
  • Fantasy – Hair is swept back into a bun, covered with a curly hairpiece and topped with a coordinating flower halo.
  • Royal Braid – Hair is styled in a bun and accessorized with an attached Royal Braid. A princess bow completes this look fit for royalty!
  • Pixie Magic – Add a colorful touch to this hairstyle with an elegant ponytail and matching flower halo.

Take a look:

As always, a variety of transformations are available and may include hair styling, nail polish, accessories, gowns and more, depending on the package you choose. Reservations for all Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique locations are highly recommended and can be made up to 180 days in advance on DisneyWorld.com and Disneyland.com or by calling (407)-WDW-STYLE for Walt Disney World Resort or (714) 781-7895 for Disneyland® Resort. 

You can also ask your Vacations with Character® Travel Agent to help you add this and other exciting enhancements to make the most of your Disney vacation! Contact us for details!

Vacations with Character® has earned the distinction of being an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner

Jack Skellington to Host ‘Disney’s Not So Spooky Spectacular’ Fireworks

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party returns to Magic Kingdom Park this Fall and guests are in for a real “treat” with a brand-new fireworks show, featuring host Jack Skellington!

In the all new show, Disney’s Not So Spooky Spectacular, Jack Skellington from “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” has come to tell a “not-so-scary” story about how anything can happen on Halloween night. His ghost dog, Zero, takes everyone along on a trick-or-treating adventure, where four friends – Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy – find themselves drawn into a mysterious haunted house. Their journey takes them from one encounter to another where they meet dancing skeletons, waltzing ghosts and a whole series of trouble-making Disney villains. The show will also include state-of-the-art projections and lasers, plus lighting and dazzling fireworks that will fill the sky above Magic Kingdom Park. Here’s a first look at this exciting new show:

This frightfully festive event returns August 16 – November 1, 2019 for select nights and is a separately ticketed event.  It’s a great way to experience your favorite attractions, see your favorite characters all dressed up, and get your fill of Halloween sweets and snacks as you gather up goodies from land to land, Trick-or-Treating throughout the park; you can even dress in costume for the occasion!

Courtesy of Disney Destinations

TIP: Don’t miss the Boo-to-You Halloween Parade as well!  Highlights include:

  • A flurry of favorite Disney friends, including Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse—in all-new Halloween costumes—trick-or-treating down Main Street, U.S.A.
  • Hitchhiking Ghosts and a new addition—the spectral Bride, who glides among the waltzing spirits—representing the Haunted Mansion from Liberty Square
  • A new Tomorrowland unit featuring The Incredibles and designer extraordinaire Edna Mode, followed by Buzz Lightyear and some alien explorers
  • Wreck-It Ralph, Vanellope von Schweetz and the girls from Sugar Rush making sure there’s plenty of sweet stuff to go around
  • Pirates sailing in from Adventureland, Clarabelle Cow hosting a square dance during a Frontierland hoedown and a wicked assortment of Disney Villains reigning over a Fantasyland-inspired grand finale.
Courtesy of Disney Destinations

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is a night of family-friendly frights you won’t want to miss! Tickets are on sale now so, let’s “Boo” this! Contact one of our expert Travel Agents for more information or visit our website and fill out a simple quote form! 

Vacations with Character® has earned the distinction of being an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner

 

 

 

 

 

Calling All Foodies: Best New Bites at Walt Disney World

Did you know there are new eats at both Epcot and Disney Springs, as well as a yummy new plant-based treat at Disney’s All-Star Music Resort? WARNING: Reading this blog may make you drool and become ridiculously hungry. Do not read on an empty stomach!

Courtesy of Disney DestinationsFirst up is some exciting news direct from the Japan pavilion at Epcot. Yesterday morning, all sorts of dignitaries gathered to celebrate the official grand opening of Takumi-Tei. In attendance were, of course Mickey and Minnie Mouse! Takumi-Tei is the newest signature table-service restaurant at Epcot. It is truly an upscale, immersive, Japanese dining experience offering a premium multi-course tasting menu featuring traditional tea service and wagyu beef, as well as an á la carte menu and more. Inside, the restaurant’s tranquil interior features five dining rooms, each inspired by one of five natural elements: water, wood, earth, stone, and washi paper. Congratulations to both the Epcot and Mitsukoshi teams on the opening of this amazing new restaurant!

Courtesy of Disney Destinations

While we’re on the topic of Epcot, you should definitely check out Coral Reef Restaurant. They recently added a few new items to the menu. On the appetizer list – you can try the new Seared Sea Scallops with saffron butter broth, tomato bruschetta, and crostini. New entrées include the Lobster Seafood Boil (with lobster, Jonah Crab claw, shrimp, mussels, Andouille sausage, corn, potatoes, ouzo-garlic butter, and spiced cioppino broth) and Grilled Swordfish (with warm white beans, roasted Cipollini onions, arugula, and lemon-herb vinaigrette). You’ll also find a new enhancement featuring one pound of steamed Maryland-style Snow Crab legs served with lemon and butter. And for dessert, try the seasonal cheesecake with a shortbread cookie and fruit compote. Mmmmmm!

At Disney Springs, there is a lot of news including three new additions, as well as new offerings at D-Luxe Burger and Earl of Sandwich.

The first of the new additions is a new food truck called “Cookie Dough and Everything Sweet” featuring, what else(?!), COOKIE DOUGH! That’s right, you’ll soon find edible cookie dough treats at Disney Springs! This new cookie dough-themed food truck will open later this month and will be parked near the other food trucks across from Candy Cauldron at Disney Springs West Side.  On the menu:

  • Springs Candy Taco – Candy Monster Cookie Dough, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, sprinkles, and a cherry served in a waffle taco
  • Minnie Mouse Taco – Peanut Butter Fluff Cookie Dough, caramel sauce, whipped cream, a cherry, and a chocolate Minnie bow served in a waffle taco
  • Celebration Parfait – Celebration Cookie Dough with Celebration Mickey cake, vanilla custard, strawberries, whipped cream, and a cherry
  • Mickey or Minnie Funnel Cake – funnel cake topped with powdered sugar and Mickey or Minnie-shaped cookie dough
  • Cookie Dough Cup or Cone – Flavors include Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Fluff, Celebration, Cookies and Cream, Candy Monster, and Cold Brew

Also coming later this month, a guest favorite from the Downtown Disney District at Disneyland Resort is heading to Disney Springs at the Marketplace and West Side: Sunshine Churro! These carts serve up a variety of classic and gourmet churros with flavors like watermelon, salted caramel, strawberry cheesecake, fruity cereal, and cookies and cream. We recommend trying churros dipped in milk chocolate or chocolate-hazelnut spread. YUM!!

And coming soon, Ample Hills Creamery will be opening a brand new location at Disney Springs West Side. The scoop shop will offer their popular handcrafted ice cream and mix-ins (like brownie bites, oatmeal lace cookies and butter pecan brittle) similar to the offerings available at the Ample Hills Creamery located at Disney’s BoardWalk. At Ample Hills, every component tells a story — from the ingredients, to the design of the pints, making it another “Instagrammable” foodie destination.

On the savory side, you’ll find a new Pepperoni Pizza Burger at D-Luxe Burger topped with artisan pepperoni, fried mozzarella and Pomodoro sauce. And at Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, if you’re a bacon lover and haven’t had the new “Temple of Bacon” dish, then you’re totally missing out! It comes with thick-cut Applewood-smoked bacon dipped in milk and chipotle chocolate ganache from The Ganachery (another of our favorite best-kept secrets for a sweet and delicious treat in Disney Springs).

At Earl of Sandwich, try one of their new cheesesteak sandwiches! And you read that right – that’s not a typo! 😉 Choose between the Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich with tender chopped beef steak or the Chicken Cheesesteak Sandwich with grilled chicken. Both are served on freshly-baked artisan bread and topped with provolone, mushrooms, sautéed green peppers, and onions. There’s also a Veggie Cheesesteak Sandwich featuring provolone, mushrooms, sautéed green peppers, onions, and HP sauce.

Finally, at Disney’s All-Star Music Resort, if you’re looking for a unique plant-based treat, you should definitely try the Sweet Thai Coconut Mickey Onigiri at Intermission Food Court. It features coconut sticky rice with poppy seeds stuffed with roasted mango, mandarins, apples, and carrots wrapped in nori and is served with a sweet and sour fruit dipping sauce. Also at Intermission Food Court, you’ll find a Hades Cupcake offered the entire month of August. This chocolate cupcake comes with blue sour candy buttercream and a chocolate Hades piece.

Who’s ready to to plan a vacation filled with good eats and sweet treats? And, don’t forget, the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival  is just around the corner! Contact us for a free, no-obligation quote today!

Vacations with Character® has earned the distinction of being an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner

Rainy Day Fun at Walt Disney World Resort

A little rain should never put a damper on a full day of magic.  There are always exciting activities, attractions and entertainment for the whole family to enjoy.  Here are just a few favorite picks!

Magic Kingdom® Park  

  • When the afternoon parades at Magic Kingdom Park can’t be performed as planned, Disney friends come out to play in the “Rainy Day Cavalcade.” As long as it’s not lightening, this cheery procession brings Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and their pals down the street in antique vehicles, accompanied by a special musical soundtrack and parade performers in colorful rain slickers and galoshes!
  • As for indoor attractions, there’s a lot to choose from! You can hop on a rip-roaring rocket on Space Mountain, take a spin with Buzz Lightyear, laugh it up with the gang from Monsters, Inc., set sail on a swashbuckling voyage on Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, or climb aboard a gloomy Doom Buggy in the Haunted Mansion. You can also fly with Peter Pan, ride in a honeypot to see Winnie the Pooh, board a clam mobile with Ariel and Friends, and even take a friendly cruise on It’s a Small World.
Soarin’ Around the World – Photo Courtesy of Disney Destinations

Epcot®

  • Take flight on Soarin’ Around the World.  This indoor attraction allows you to experience a breezy, airborne adventure as you hang glide above the breathtaking marvels of the world.
  • Go under the sea—without getting wet—on The Seas with Nemo & Friends before getting close up with clown fish, sharks and more in a massive 5.7-million-gallon saltwater aquarium. You can even visit with manatees! Don’t forget to enjoy some Turtle Talk with Crush too. (My family and I rode out a storm a few weeks ago here and it was great!)
  • Catch a Disney and Pixar short film—in amazing 4D at the Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival. TIP: This is a best-kept secret as the films are always a treat! Afterwards, visit with Figment who’s right around the corner.
  • Pop into the Mexican Pavillion and explore the shops, then take a ride with The Three Caballeros or if you find yourself in Norway, take a Frozen voyage to Arendelle aboard an ancient Nordic vessel.
  • Eleven countries are represented in World Showcase and the pavilions feature Kidcot Fun Stops, shopping, dining, and even some attractions such as Reflections of China, a Circle-Vision 360º film (note O Canada! is being refurbished and will reopen later next year).

Disney’s Hollywood Studios®

  • Step inside Andy’s room and make your way through a toy chest full of classic games before you pick up your 3D glasses and board a carnival-inspired tram and take your best shot a moving targets. TIP: Points pile up when you hit your mark. Hard-to-hit targets are worth more. Aim for secret targets to unleash “Easter eggs” that are worth even more points!
  • Check into the infamous Hollywood Tower Hotel on The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction where you’ll be hurtled up and down aboard an elevator-style lift and brought into…the Twilight Zone.
  • Make your way over to the indoor Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith and race along the darkened freeways of Los Angeles in a super-stretch limo to the rockin’ tunes of Aerosmith. This ride includes a pre-show and the gift shop at the end is pretty neat too!
  • Sing along with Anna & Elsa in For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Singalong Celebration.
  • Join the Muppets in a 3D show as they take you on a zany tour of their lab.
  • Explore a Galaxy far, far away in Star Tours or check out the ultimate insider’s guide in Star Wars Launch Bay.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park

  • In Africa, head over to “The Festival of the Lion King,” a high-energy show filled with songs, pageantry and puppetry celebrating the classic movie, “The Lion King.”
  • Venture over to Pandora – The World of Avatar area where you can take a mystical journey into Pandora’s glowing bioluminescent rainforest on Na’vi River Journey attraction. This indoor boat ride will take you on a visually stunning adventure!
  • Embark on a prehistoric tour aboard a Time Rover to save an Iguanadon from extinction at Dinosaur! (Note: this ride may be too intense for small children.)

Character Meet and Greets are also a great way for you to meet some of your favorite Disney characters while avoiding the rain. Character meals are another. Check your My Disney Experience app for locations and times (note: not all meet and greet locations are indoors). Although reservations are usually needed for character dining, the rain may open up some spots due to cancellations, so it doesn’t hurt to check the app!

Some of our favorite rainy day restaurants:  

  • The Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom Park – includes an all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet with some of your favorite friends from the Hundred-Acre Wood.
  • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot  – an enchanting experience that invites you to feast inside a medieval castle while interacting with some beloved Disney Princesses.
  • Tusker House Restaurant in Disney’s Animal Kingdom  – in the Harambe marketplace allows you to enjoy African inspired dishes alongside some of your favorite Disney characters like Safari Donald Duck and friends.
  • Hollywood & Vine in Disney’s Hollywood Studios – meet some Disney Junior Characters during a memorable breakfast buffet or Minnie Mouse and friends at seasonal dining parties!

Who doesn’t love Disney gear? You can always stay dry and treat yourself to a new umbrella or raincoat! They can be found in the World of Disney at Disney Springs®, Once Upon A Time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Future World kiosk and Mouse Gear at Epcot and the Emporium at Magic Kingdom Park. Mickey ponchos are also located in most gift shops as well.

Lastly, plan ahead! Storms roll in quickly in Florida. Bring a waterproof cover for your stroller (or scooter) as well as a small towel; a poncho could also do the trick. Be sure to fasten it well when you park or it may blow off during a storm. There’s also nothing worse than walking around in wet socks and saggy, soaked britches! Wearing quick drying clothing and shoes – or bringing a change of clothes and shoes just in case – is also a good idea. These items can easily be stored in a locker located at the beginning of the all theme parks if you don’t feel like carrying them during your day.

The weather may not always cooperate, but being prepared can help make your visit at Walt Disney World Resort a success. Another bonus: rain keeps temps a bit lower and crowds a bit thinner as well!

Tips for NBA Experience: Disney Springs

Today we’re sharing a look at the new NBA Experience at Disney Springs®, which opens Aug. 12, 2019.

NBA Experience in Disney Springs – Courtesy of Disney Destinations Travel News

This one-of-a-kind destination was created by Disney in collaboration with the NBA to let Guests feel what it’s like to walk in the footsteps of NBA and WNBA champions.

Your basketball dreams are just a layup away in this immersive world that features 13 basketball-related activities. Just to name a few: Dribble, for example, works on ball-handling skills, while Dunk! features an adjustable rim, so guests can make a highlight-reel slam. Test your trivia knowledge to see who knows the most about the NBA and WNBA or over in the arcade, challenge friends and family to get the high score in the classic Pop-A-Shot game!

Best of all, you can participate in these activities in any order you choose, and return to them throughout your visit to NBA Experience to improve your scores and skills.

To get you pumped up for the debut of this new venue, here are a few key features and tips to get the most of your NBA Experience:

All About the Guest – Almost every activity encourages you to be an active participant and get into the game. We recommend that you complete the optional registration once you’re inside. This allows you to customize and personalize your experience by adding your own nickname and choosing your favorite NBA or WNBA team. Your team’s logo will be associated with you throughout your stay on various leader boards and signage, and when you try the Shoot! activity, the court magically transforms to make it feel like you’re in your favorite team’s home arena! Plus, you can choose different basketballs to best fit your hand size (NBA, WNBA or Youth) and set your own skill level.

Immersive Environment – Walking into NBA Experience truly feels like stepping onto center court of an arena, complete with huge overhead video monitors, pulsing music and swirling lights. Whether you are huge NBA fans or new to the sport, you’ll get swept up in the energy!

Authenticity – Walt Disney Imagineering worked closely with the NBA to ensure NBA Experience is authentic. The hoops are regulation size (unless Guests need them adjusted to dunk!), and team and league logos are featured throughout the venue. For those new to the game, this is a great way to learn all about the league, its players and the game as a whole, straight from the source.

Interactive Technology – NBA Experience is not only a physical experience, it’s also a high-tech environment. The Champions area, for one example, features massive touchscreens that allow you to dive deep into league history, with notes about each of those legendary teams along with photos and video highlights while the Replay activity challenges you to make the right call in three different scenarios using your own personal interactive replay station; you can view the play from different angles, zoom in on key moments, and move the video forward and backward before deciding to confirm or overturn the call.

NBA Store –Don’t forget to pick up NBA-themed fan gear celebrating your favorite basketball players and teams at this specialty shop only located in NBA Experience!

It’s a slam dunk of fun for all ages and tickets are on sale now.  Be sure to contact us to book your vacation and ask about adding tickets for NBA Experience!

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