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Courtesy of Robin Gantek, Vacations with Character®

10 Tips for Universal Orlando’s Reopening

Universal Orlando Resort is officially open! We’re excited to take you on a walk with us as we show you what you can expect from line queues to meet and greets to dining and more in this first phase of reopening. Read on for 10 Tips on what to expect!

Universal’s Iconic Globe / Photo Credit Derek Funk

1) Whether you travel to the park via resort buses or personal car, social distancing space is always maintained (even in the parking lot by skipping a space between cars).

2) Upon arrival, you’re greeted with new and clear signage as well as ground markers to enforce the new guidelines for all guest’s health and safety.  It’s at this point ALL guests are required to pass a temperature screening before heading into the security area and through the metal detectors!

Universal’s New Signage / Photo Credit Derek Funk
Universal’s New Floor Signs / Photo Courtesy of Derek Funk

3) All of the line queue have also been updated with social distancing markers to ensure guests are 6 feet apart. Here is how Hagrids line looks; these markers continue throughout the queues for all attractions.

Photo Courtesy of Derek Funk

4) Hand sanitizer is being given out by a Team Member before experiencing an attraction.

Photo Courtesy of Derek Funk

FUN FACT: Hagrids carts are actually 6 feet apart so they will NOT be skipping every other cart and from what we have been reassured, it’s very easy to ride a coaster with a well fitting mask. Don’t worry if you lose yours, Universal has complimentary, disposable masks they will supply you with!

Photo Courtesy of Derek Funk

5) Many attractions are being added to a new Virtual Line Pass, which is a nice surprise especially for fans of Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure!

Photo Courtesy of Derek Funk

Don’t have access to the Universal Mobile app? They’ve got you covered! You’ll notice the creation of Virtual Line Kiosks:

Photo Courtesy of Derek Funk

6) While the parks were closed, Universal has been very busy! You’ll notice some upgrades, such as the new Raptor Encounter, including a new baby friend who can’t wait to meet you! ♥

Photo Courtesy of Derek Funk
Photo Courtesy of Derek Funk

7) Speaking of meeting our friends, everyone loves greeting their favorite characters and Universal has, thankfully, found a creative way! You’ll have to wear a mask and take a selfie within social distancing guidelines (notice the ground marker) but you’ll still have a great new photo op with your pals!

Photo Courtesy of Derek Funk
Photo Courtesy of Derek Funk
Photo Courtesy of Derek Funk

We ♥ the Spongebob Photo Op and give it 2 fins up!

8) As for dining, upon entrance you’re greeted with a hand sanitizer dispenser and will be seated for social distancing. Ordering and paying will be done from the mobile app.  Eventually, the mobile app will be updated with the dining plan but until then (and if you don’t have a mobile phone) ONE person from your party will walk up and go through the line to order and pay at the register (with your mask on, of course). This is a photo of Louie’s:

Photo Courtesy of Derek Funk

UPDATED 6/5/2020:
9) Another important detail to know: if a ride has a virtual line available, that is the only way you can currently experience that attraction. So, if you do not have a virtual line reservation you will not be permitted to ride. Currently we are also being told you will not be able to book more than TWO  virtual line time at once but we’ll keep you updated if that changes! (Previously, it was said to be one.)

Photo Courtesy of Derek Funk

10) We have a list of all of the most pertinent details regarding operational procedures from screening to sanitization. Please visit our website for more information by clicking here!

We hope you enjoyed our virtual tour and tips.  Are you ready and excited to visit? 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 main website for a free quote: https://universalvacationplanners.com/ or reach out and drop us a line!

Authorized Universal Orlando Travel Professional
Vacations with Character is proud to have the distinction of being an Authorized Vacation Planner for Universal Orlando and Universal Hollywood

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

 

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

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!

Authorized Universal Orlando Travel Professional
Vacations with Character is proud to have the distinction of being an Authorized Vacation Planner for Universal Orlando and Universal Hollywood

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

There’s a New Photo Experience at Magic Kingdom Park!

If you’re coming to Magic Kingdom Park to celebrate an occasion, this NEW Disney PhotoPass Service can help you capture your special moment so you can cherish it for a lifetime! Read on for full details…
Couple getting engaged in front of Cinderella Castle
Courtesy of Disney Travel News

Disney PhotoPass photographers have always been ready to capture your vacation memories all around Walt Disney World® Resort. From picture-perfect scenic spots to popular dining experiences, there are great opportunities to take beautiful photos that include the entire family. And now, the Disney PhotoPass team is piloting a new experience at Magic Kingdom® Park called “Capture Your Moment” specifically for those who may be celebrating something special and want a bit more time in front of the camera.

Capture Your Moment allow you to book time with a Disney PhotoPass photographer for a personalized photo session during regular park hours at Magic Kingdom Park to capture celebrations and milestones, such as a proposal, baby announcement, graduation, anniversary, family reunion, first visit, birthday, and more!

All Capture Your Moment photo session locations will offer an iconic view of Magic Kingdom Park, to include a view of Cinderella Castle. At the start of your session, your photographer will share available photo shoot locations and discuss what you would like to capture before escorting you to your  photo shoot location. Once you arrive at your photo shoot location, you will have the opportunity to capture photos there with your photographer for up to 20 minutes.

Happy couple posing in front of Cinderella Castle
Courtesy of Disney Travel News

Each Capture Your Moment session is $50 but if you are looking for more time in front of the camera, no worries! You can book TWO Capture Your Moment sessions back-to-back for $100 and spend up to 40 minutes with your  photographer capturing photos. During your 40 minutes, you will have the option to visit at least two photo locations.

The Disney PhotoPass photographer will customize the photo shoot to your needs while using their creativity and personal style to take stunning photos.

Bookings are now open for Capture Your Moment sessions, by calling 407-939-7758. Capture Your Moment photo sessions are available starting February 10, 2020. A limited number of same-day reservations may be available starting February 10, call 407-939-7758 to inquire.

Family posing in front of Cinderella Castle
Courtesy of Disney Travel News

Prints and digital downloads are not included with the price of a Capture Your Moment session. However, those with a Disney PhotoPass entitlement like Memory Maker or Memory Maker One Day, can download the photos captured during Capture Your Moment from their Disney accounts at no extra cost.

If you are coming to Magic Kingdom Park to celebrate, this Disney PhotoPass Service can help you capture your special moment so you can cherish it for a lifetime!

We are blessed to have 1000’s of wonderful clients, friends, and family trust us with their vacation plans each year and we hope you will too! Contact us by visiting our website and filling out a no-obligation quote form to reach one of our agents: https://vacationswithcharacter.net/ or simply drop us a line!

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

FINE PRINT: No refund will apply for no-shows or cancellations made less than 24 hours before the session start time. Gratuity is not necessary. Prices and services offered are subject to change. Full payment is due at time of booking. Additional time must be booked in advance. Capture Your Moment is only available during regular park hours. Available session locations will be provided by your photographer at the start of your session and are subject to change based on inclement weather and park operations. Because of other Guest appointments, Guests arriving late to their session cannot have their session extended beyond the stated end time. Guests under 14 years old must be accompanied by an adult (18 or older). Maximum party size is 8 per session. No wedding attire is permitted. Any Guest-supplied props need to abide by the Park Policies found here. Valid Theme Park admission required and not included in the session price. Photos are not included with the price of session. Prints and digital downloads can be purchased separately at Town Square Theater or online at Disneyworld.com/PhotoPass

 

It’s National Plan a Vacation Day! Check Our Special Offers for 2020 and Beyond!

Did you know that 768 million vacation days went unused in 2018? Don’t let this happen to you too! Vacations are vital to our well being AND a necessity in life. At Vacations with Character®, we specialize in “ALL of the Happiest Places on Earth” and we’re here to help you plan a magical getaway! Here’s a SMALL sampling of special offers available today!

RELATED: The Importance of Vacations

Universal Ticket Offer - 3rd Park Free plus Early Entry
Universal Ticket Offer – 3rd Park Free plus EARLY ENTRY
Walt Disney World - Magical Stay Delicious Offer!
Walt Disney World – Magical Stay Delicious Dining Offer!
Disney Cruise Line 50% off Deposits - Book Early and Save
Disney Cruise Line 50% off Deposits – Book Early and Save
Disney's Aulani 30% off Sale
Disney’s Aulani 30% off Sale

We work hard to make sure our clients receive the best prices possible but also provide the added value of our free services! Read what happy clients have to say about us!

Princess Cruise Line Best Sale Ever
Princess Cruise Line Best Sale Ever!
Royal Caribbean Explore More Sale 2020
Royal Caribbean Explore More Sale 2020
It's All On Sale - We Offer the Best Prices Possible for your All Inclusive Vacation
All Inclusive Vacation Deals for 2020

We have partnerships with ALL major cruise lines and work with only hand-picked preferred partners of All Inclusive Resorts in addition to Disney Destinations and Universal Orlando Resort!

Beaches Spring Break Sale
Beaches Spring Break Sale 2020
Carnival National Vacation Planning Day Sale
Carnival National Vacation Planning Day Sale

We are blessed to have 1000’s of wonderful clients, friends, and family trust us with their vacation plans each year and we hope you will too! Contact us by visiting our website and filling out a no-obligation quote form to reach one of our agents: https://vacationswithcharacter.net/ or simply drop us a line!

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Vacations with Character® has earned the distinction of being an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner
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Vacations with Character has earned the distinction of being Authorized Universal Travel Professional and TOP Seller of Travel to Universal Orlando Resort
Vacations with Character® is a Proud Member of the Cruise Lines International Association
Vacations with Character® is a Proud Member of the Cruise Lines International Association

 

 

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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