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Yesterday, we shared our top tips for the reopening of Universal Orlando’s main theme parks. Today, we’re bringing you some photos and tips for the fabulous Volcano Bay water park, where “water is life…and life is joy”!
Before you venture out to begin your carefree island life at Volcano Bay – home of the Waturi, according to legend – you’ll need to know a few important things:
1) Social distancing markers are located everywhere and you’ll want to be aware of them. You should also be prepared to know your temperature will be taken. Lastly, masks are required by everyone – guests and Team Members alike – BUT not to worry! Once you enter the park, you may remove them to enjoy your day, not to mention the soothing waves of Waturi Beach!
2) Unless staying onsite at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, which has a private entrance to Volcano Bay, buses will help you embark on your journey. Onboard, you’ll be seated 6 feet apart by a Team Member and masks are required.
3) Island signage abounds, so no need to take notes! ; )
4) Once you arrive at the entrance to Volcano Bay, masks are still required by all and you’ll be welcomed plus provided with your own sanitized, waterproof TapuTapu wearable – designed specifically and exclusively for use in Volcano Bay. With its Virtual Line and TapTu Play capabilities, TapuTapu allows you to live on Waturi time and feel as one with the island’s carefree way of life. The only difference is, you’ll receive yours from a Team Member who is masked and gloved; and just as before, Tapu Tapu’s are yours to use for the day!
5) Once inside, the fun and relaxation truly begins as masks are only required beyond this point by the lockers, at food venues, or in merchandise stores; just be aware the Waturi respectfully request you maintain social distancing in these areas as well.
In the larger restaurants with seating areas, parties are seated one at a time and at an appropriate distance from everyone else, and Team Members are carefully sanitizing the tables at all venues after each use as well!
6) The Waturi have a new rule: only 10 guests are permitted at a time in the locker area, so visitors are asked to send one guest from your group in with your belongings. Lockers are also yours for the day!
7) Here among the sparkling waters, even life jackets are replaced after each use and taken away by a Team Member for proper sanitizing before reuse.
8) We are happy to report you can still kick your visit up a notch by renting a private cabana for up to 10 people! Relax, unwind and enjoy the charms of your own personal cabana space in paradise with extra-comfy seating, concierge service and more. Each retreat offers padded lounge chairs, a small refrigerator stocked with bottled water, complimentary fruit and snack basket, towel and locker service, plus concierge service with an exclusive menu of food and drink delivered directly to the cabana. Who can ask for anything more?
Well, there is one thing…
9) Ice Cream! Koka Poroka is Volcano Bay’s ice cream stand and is renowned for offering this Waturi fusion of flavor! PRO TIP: Don’t miss this delicious treat!
10) Volcano Bay is THE perfect place to visit in the Florida Summer sun…as masks are not required in the pools, while relaxing on your loungers, or while exploring! You’ll truly enjoy an immersive water theme park full of thrills, relaxation, and one-of-a-kind attractions in a beautiful, tropical setting.
We’d like to give a BIG shout out to thank our FABULOUS Universal Orlando Representative, Derek Funk, for all of the great photos and information we’ve shared with you yesterday and today, and hope you enjoyed this virtual tour!
Contact Vacations with Character® and let us help you plan your escape! Visit https://universalvacationplanners.com/ for more information or to reach out and drop us a line!
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!
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!
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.
4) Hand sanitizer is being given out by a Team Member before experiencing an attraction.
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!
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!
Don’t have access to the Universal Mobile app? They’ve got you covered! You’ll notice the creation of Virtual Line Kiosks:
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! ♥
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!
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:
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.)
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
Universal Orlando and Universal Hollywood have a new campaign slogan for this year and here’s why we ♥ it!
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?
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.
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!
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!
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!
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/
“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.”
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.
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?
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.
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?!
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!
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!
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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!
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!
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!
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!
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/