Celebrate the 4th at Woody’s Roundup BBQ Buffet

If you are planning on visiting Walt Disney World Resort over the 4th of July holiday, this event is one you certainly won’t want to miss!
Woody and Buzz Lightyear
Photo Courtesy of Disney Destinations/Disney Travel News

Step inside Andy’s favorite play set to join in on a hootenanny with Woody’s Roundup. Taking place July 4 – 6, this fun-filled barbecue buffet will be complete with great food, familiar friends, and fun times, all from the comfort of Disney’s Contemporary Resort. It’s a great way to beat the Summertime heat!

Mouthwatering Food Options
Photo Courtesy of Disney Destinations/Disney Travel News

What about characters?

As you arrive at the resort, Sarge will be there to greet you to make sure you’re in tip top toy shape and ready for playtime. Buzz Lightyear will even be on hand in his own playtime zone and you can hangout with Sheriff Woody, Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl, and more! Theatrical backdrops, toys, and other fun props will help bring the room to life!

Bring your appetite!

This delicious buffet will feature some of the best barbecue outside of the Wild West.  Feast on mouthwatering beef brisket, low and slow-smoked pork ribs, and grilled boneless chicken with roasted peach coulis, or take a bite out of a fire-roasted vegetable cake served with chipotle succotash. Create the perfect plate with sides including fresh cornbread (served with honey butter – YUM!), sweet cream cole slaw, southern-style potato salad, and grilled vegetables with smoked olive oil.  Vegetarians can chow down on some warm vegetarian campfire chili or mixed greens with balsamic vinaigrette and roasted pepper ranch dressing. In addition, kids can enjoy their own special buffet featuring items like Creamy Mickey Roni Cheese, chicken fingers, and potato barrels.

Delicious Desserts
Photo Courtesy of Disney Destinations/Disney Travel News

Did someone say “dessert”?

Try some yummy salted caramel cookie bars, cherry pie shots, or assorted sliced fresh melon. And in celebration of the 4th of July holiday, grab a patriotic Red, White, and Blue Cake Push Pop!

Contemporary Resort backlit with fireworks
Photo Courtesy of Disney Destinations/Disney Travel News

Is there more?

Yes! A rootin’ tootin’ DJ will spin Woody’s favorite tunes from a rustic toy set right in the heart of it all. Kids can go have some fun with activities like the Trick Ropin’ Toy, Make-Your-Own Toy Station, camp-style carnival games, and a larger-than-life balloon artist who can recreate their favorite Toy Story characters. And finally, at the end of the night, you’ll be invited out to the Porte Cochére to end the evening with a viewing of the famous Magic Kingdom Park nighttime spectacular.

This limited-time event is happening for three nights only, July 4-6, from 6:15-9:15pm each night at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Space is limited, so be sure to reserve your spot before it’s too late! Tickets are $149 for adults and $99 for children ages 3-9, tax and gratuity included. To make reservations, call 407 WDW-DINE (407 939-3463) or contact your favorite Vacations with Character® Travel Professional to book a package that includes this event!

Please note: all menu item and event experiences are subject to change without notice. Space is limited!

Pet Friendly Vacations #NationalPuppyDay

One of our amazing greyhounds and beloved family members

Years ago, my newlywed husband and I adopted the first of many rescued pets, a greyhound. What an amazing creature! She brought us great joy – and much love.

I remember a time when we decided to go on a vacation to Key West. I was so excited — but also very worried about leaving our first “baby”. After all, she had grown to be a member of our family! Although we truly enjoyed our vacation, I simply couldn’t wait to get back home to her and I spent a great deal of time thinking about her and hoping she wasn’t too sad in our absence. If only she could have joined us, the vacation would have been perfect.

I know I am not alone in my love for our furry (and other) friends. According to the 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), over 60 million people own a dog, over 47 million own a cat, and 68% of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to 84.6 millions homes…that’s a lot of animal lovers! ♥

Pet owners have a millennia-long history of close relations and loyalty with our four-legged companions, and in fact, studies have even been done that show we love our dogs and cats as much as our children! For this reason, it’s easy to understand why the thought of vacationing without them would create anxiety over leaving them behind. So, in honor of #NationalPuppyDay I’ve decided to share some information that might make you and your pooch smile (and yes, I really do believe dogs — and cats — smile!)

Dog Friendly Resorts at Walt Disney World (Sorry Felines!)
The colorful logo and building exterior of Disney's Art of Animation Resort
Photo Courtesy Disney Destinations

Thankfully, Disney understands that dogs aren’t just pets too! As part of an ongoing pilot program, 4 of the Disney Resort hotels have designated dog-friendly accommodations, including:

  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
  • The Cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort
  • Ft. Wilderness Camping Sites – Pet Friendly Loops

Upon arrival, dogs and their owners will be greeted with a complimentary Pluto’s Welcome Kit and placed in resort rooms that have easy access to outdoor walkways for exercise plus green spaces with pet relief areas.

At this time dogs are the only pets allowed, with a maximum of 2 permitted per Guest room. Disney says “Dogs are expected to be well-behaved, leashed in public areas and properly vaccinated.”

As for booking a campsite, you may request a pet-friendly loop for an additional fee per night, but please know that pets are not allowed in pop-up trailers or tents!

Are you an allergy sufferer? No worries! While certain floors or sections of these Disney Resort hotels are designated as dog-friendly, the majority of areas remain canine-free to protect Guests with allergies. Also, other than service animals, dogs are not permitted in theme parks, water parks or common areas such as restaurants, pools and recreational spaces as well.

Walt Disney World® Resort Pet Boarding/Kennels

In addition to pet-friendly accommodations,  pets can stay at a charming retreat while you are off having fun in the parks.  First-rate accommodations and activities cane be found at Best Friends Pet Care.

Best Friends Pet Care includes:

  • 17,000 square feet of air-conditioned indoor space
  • 10,000 square feet of covered outdoor runs and play areas
  • 25,000-square-foot dog park

According to their website, the staff —made up of 45 highly trained pet care providers—are animal lovers, first and foremost and Best Friends Pet Care is open one hour before the theme parks open through one hour after closing. They also offer overnight accommodations! While the facility can accommodate up to 300 dogs, cats and small pets, reservations at Best Friends Pet Care are suggested.

If your travels are drawing you over to the Wizarding World at Universal Orlando for some amazing adventures, your pets are welcome there too!

Pet Friendly Resorts at Universal Orlando
Image result for hard rock hotel universal photos
Photo Courtesy Universal Orlando Resorts

Universal’s Loews Hotels are dog-and cat-friendly too! All pets receive their own gifts upon including a pet tag, bowl and a special treat to kick off their vacation. Owners receive a detailed brochure with information on hotel pet services such as the Loews Loves pets room service menu, local dog walking routes, and area pet services, including veterinarians, pet shops and groomers. Universal designated pet-friendly resorts include:

  • Universal’s Hard Rock Hotel
  • Loews Royal Pacific Hotel
  • Universal’s Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
  • Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando

Loews Hotels requests all pets to be leashed or restrained at all times in public spaces in the hotel or on the property. Also note your furry friends must be supervised at all times while in the hotel or on the property as well.

Good to know info:

  • A $10 per hour “time out” fee will be assessed by Loews Hotels if a pet is left unattended and needs to be removed from a guestroom
  • Guests need to display the special Loews Loves Pets “Pet In Room” sign to alert housekeeping that a pet is in residence as at Loews Hotels as they will enter a guestroom at least every 24 hours to ensure the safety and security of our guests regardless of whether a “Still Dreaming” or “Pet in Room” signs are hanging
  • Pets are not allowed in food and beverage, pool or fitness center areas.
  • Guests are responsible for pet waste clean-up inside the hotel and throughout the property grounds
  • Loews Hotels reserves the right to remove guests whose pets are deemed noisy or disruptive
Your Pets Can Stay While You Play Too!

Loews will help you arrange for a local pet sitting service through the hotel’s concierge or, you can utilize Universal Orlando’s daytime kennel service for cats and dogs, where you’ll never be too far from your furry friend.

Kennels open as early as 8 am, with caring staff available until two hours after park close. Need an extended day? Your pet can stay after hours unattended until 3 am. When you’re ready to pick up your pal, simply use the phone located outside of the kennel and a Universal staff member will come by to assist you.

Kennel restrictions, dimensions and requirements include:

  • First-come, first-served basis charge of $15.00* per pet, per day–no reservations required or accepted
  • Dogs weighing 39 pounds and more will be boarded in our covered outdoor kennel area with fans for cooling
  • Outdoor pens are 7′ x 4′ and feature secure fencing and clean cement floors for a safe environment
  • Cats and dogs weighing 38 pounds and less will be boarded in air conditioned indoor kennel
  • Cozy 3′ x 2 1/2′ metal kennels include a fenced front for privacy

They also recommend bringing food, blankets and toys to make your four-legged friend feel at home. While the kennel attendant will supply water and keep things clean, they also ask that you plan to return to take your pet for a walk at least once during the day. You’ll find this safe environment just minutes away from the action, so you can come back throughout the day to check on your pet, drop off snacks or just have a quick cuddle with your cutie.  For more information and requirements call (407) 224-9509 or fax (407) 224-9516.

Other options are definitely available in and around the Orlando area as well.

Give your furry friend(s) some extra love today as we celebrate National Puppy Day and don’t forget to contact a Vacations with Character® Travel Professional to book your next adventure with Fido or Boo-Boo Kitty! Your furbabies will ♥ you for it! www.vacationswithcharacter.com